Arts & Entertainment

Japan ends 1,000-year-old festival due to aging population

Tokyo, Dec 5 (EFE).- A Buddhist temple in northeastern Japan on Tuesday announced an end to its 1,000-year-old festival due to an aging population.

The famous Somin Festival, celebrated for over a thousand years at the Kokuseki temple, had been a major tourist attraction in the town of Oshu, the organizers said in a statement.

The winter festival, traditionally held at the temple on the night of the 7th to the 8th day of the lunar New Year, will host its final edition on Feb. 17, according to temple officials.

The decision to end the festival was taken due to the “aging” of active participants and the “lack of successors,” the temple’s representative Daigo Fujinami said in the statement.

He said the temple officials did their best to continue with the festival but finally reached the conclusion to put an end to the event.

“We express our sincere thanks to all who have supported us so far. We regret any inconvenience caused to those eagerly awaiting the Somin festival,” he added.

The festival at Kokuseki is a part of the Japanese folk “hadaka matsuri,” a type of religious festival characterized by the semi-nudity of participants wearing a “fundoshi,” a piece of cloth covering the genital area and leaving the buttocks exposed.

For years, the festival has been a significant tourist attraction in the Iwate region, drawing nearly 3,000 spectators annually.

As a part of the festival, the participants test their endurance in the freezing winter waters of the Ruritsubo River, believed to bring health and happiness for the year.

The festival had been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic for three years before restarting in 2023. EFE


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