can’t see the forest

It’s Honen Matsuri Somewhere

Posted in Bizarre, culture, holidays, Japan by Curtis on 3/15/07

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…but not in America. Now I truly feel that my culture is nothing less than downright puritanical.

Thanks to Wikipedia (and, by the way, I just found out that Wikipedia founder Jim Wales was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, of which my hometown is a de facto suburb—y’know, if that makes me any more special) I know that today is Honen Matsuri in Japan. And that means phalli. Lots and lots of phalli.

Hōnen Matsuri (豊年祭?) (Japanese for Harvest Festival) is a fertility festival celebrated every year on March 15 in Japan. The most well-known of these festivals takes place in the town of Komaki, just north of Nagoya City. Hōnen means rich harvest in Japanese, while a matsuri is a festival or holiday. The Hōnen festival and ceremony celebrate the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manner of prosperity and fertility.

The festival’s main features of interest are Shinto priests playing musical instruments, a parade of ceremonially-garbed participants, all-you-can-drink sake, and a 280 kg (620 pound), 2.5 meter (96 inch)-long wooden phallus. The wooden phallus is carried from a shrine called Shinmei Sha on a large hill, to another shrine called Tagata Jinja.

Tagata Shrine

And that’s not all. A pornucopia of penis-shaped sweets and treats is also available, to go with your sake. By sundown you’ve been showered with rice cakes from on high.

After sundown…well…ahem.

It’s just that the American calendar gets boring after a while, so I always take notice of the annual rituals and customs of other cultures. Hats off to Japan for making life more interesting…maybe I’ll be there next year, with your good graces.


2 Responses

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  1. zilla said, on 3/16/07 at 5:40 am

    :-) Darn!

    We’re not going to Japan until May!

  2. Vividhunter said, on 8/15/13 at 2:25 am

    We went to this festival in 2013 and made a video about it. ^^ It was a lot of fun.

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