Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Driving Out the Snakes

Namamugi ca. 1862 

From early in the morning till late afternoon, lilting voices could be heard wafting over the hills dividing Temple Valley from the nearby sleepy fishing hamlet of Namamugi. Just as they have for ages, the men, women, and children of the town sang "Jamo kamo detake. Hiyori mo ameke (snakes & squitoes go away, fair weather* come our way)" while parading three massive straw snakes through the streets. Throughout the village and along the river bank they bore the serpents, carrying them through the gates of the shrine where the head of one of the mock venomous beasts was ceremoniously cut off and the village cleansed of its deadly poison in a fiery climax. This is the Jamo Kamo Festival (the Snakes and Mosquitoes Festival), an annual ceremony and celebration to ward off sickness and bring a bountiful harvest from the sea and land.

 While snakes and mosquitoes play a big role in the festivities, there's a whole lot more fun and feasting to this day. Here is a glimpse of some of the festival captured by the folks at the YouTube, Tsurmiwatchers channel.

*In this case fair weather includes the rain that helps crops grow.

Related posts: Namamugi Incident Revisited
                      In My View

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