Facebook Twitter Email. The event, called "Hadaka Matsuri" in Japanese, is a wild and raucous festival held every year on the third Saturday of February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, about a minute train ride from Okayama city. But the 10, or so male participants aren't as naked as the festival's name suggests. They sport a minimal amount of clothing; usually a Japanese loincloth called a "fundoshi" and a pair of white socks called "tabi. The festival, which celebrates the blessings of a bountiful harvest, prosperity and fertility, starts at around p.
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Read more: The seven art and architecture wonders of Chicago. The year old religious event takes place at Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, 30 minutes from Okayama City, although smaller versions of the event take place all over Japan. It takes place in the winter, which makes the physically demanding event even more challenging - particularly as the men are expected to plunge themselves in cold water for between 1 and 2 hours to purify their souls. Shinto priests throw blessed shingi into the crowd and the men fight to grab one, legend suggests that it will give them good fortune in the year ahead. The men will start with a hour long ice bath, said to purify them. This is no easy feat in the depths of winter. This is followed by a fight to grab sacred objects which are thrown into the crowd by priests. The aim is to grab one of the sticks and keep hold of it.
The sticks, thrown among bundles of twigs, are meant to bring a year of good fortune to whoever is lucky enough to catch them. Similar naked festivals are held throughout Japan every year, as part of a tradition that is said to stretch back years. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Start your Independent Premium subscription today. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.