Kasuga Wakamiya on-Matsuri Festival

Kasuga Wakamiya on-Matsuri Festival
Image Courtesy: ccdoh1 used under the Creative Commons Licence

Nara Prefecture, Japan

17th December 2014

First organized in the 12th Century when an epidemic prevailed, and prayers were offered at this festival for the eradication of the plague and also for the blessing of a rich harvest.

Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri Festival of Kasuga Wakamiya Shrine, in Nara, is designated as one of the National Important Intangible Cultural Assets, featuring a long procession of priests and other people dressed like Samurai clad in armour.

Although it is celebrated across four days, the greatest attractions are concentrated on the 17th, which is known as Hon-Matsuri. Performances, such as Karuga (music dedicated to the gods), and bugaku (court music accompanied by traditional dance) are the highlights of the day. The main objective of this festival to keep Asian history and culture alive in manners and customs related to food, clothing and shelter, vocation, faith, annual events, and folkloric performing arts, which have been passed down through generations.

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