Shinugu: Ada’s ancient Okinawan harvest ritual

Shinugu: Ada’s ancient Okinawan harvest ritual

The local men descend the mountains as “harvest gods” during Ada’s ancient harvest ritual in Kunigami-son, on Aug 6.

August 7, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

Shinugu is the traditional Okinawan harvest ritual, but the shinugu ritual of Ada, Kunigami-son, is designated an “Important Intangible Cultural Property” by the Japanese government. On Aug 6, several of Ada’s local men played the part of the “harvest gods” for the day, and worked their way through town to banish evil spirits and pray for a year of abundant harvest. Ada’s shinugu is most accurate to the ancient form of this ritual.

The men wore braided crowns made of flowers and straw, split into groups, and ascended the three mountains in town: Meba, Yamanasu, and Sasa. The men returned as harvest gods, and proceeded to parade around town, beating on their drums as they chanted, “Aye-hey-hoy,” a spell to lure out and dispel bad luck and evil spirits. The men swatted local and tourist on-lookers with leaves to banish any evil energy.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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