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Ginowan Hagoromo Festival takes place this weekend

Date Posted: 2001-08-09

This weekend, Ginowan City will celebrate its “Hagoromo Festival” on the streets around Okinawa Convention Center. The festival takes its name from an ancient Okinawan folk story that has been told for generations.

Another main theme of the festival is “Kachashi,” a joyful Okinawan folk dance, very much alive to this day that locals dance on happy occasions. Especially in the countryside, one can see folks spontaneously join in kachashi with the accompaniment of sanshin and small drums. 33 groups will take part in kachashi parade on Sunday starting at 5 p.m., and everyone is invited to join them on stage at the end of the festival.

“Hagoromo” or “Haninsu” in Okinawan dialect means a “celestial robe.” There is a legend involving “hagoromo” that is also known in a bit different variations elsewhere in Japan and around the world.

The legend normally goes like this; a man walking near a river, came upon a beautiful robe he had never seen before, and he took it home and kept in a storage room. He then came back to the river and discovered a beautiful heavenly maiden bathing. After finishing her bath, she looked for her robes, but in vain. This seemed to disturb her, so the man came forward and talked to her gently, and invited her to his house, where he dressed the maiden with his own clothes.

Later they got married and were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. One day, the maiden heard her elder child, a girl; sing a lullaby to her brother. The song was about the robe kept in the storage. Although she had a happy life she could not resist getting it back. She found her robe in the storage, took it out and put it on; immediately she had to go back to heaven leaving her husband and two children.

The story usually ends here sadly, but the legend of “Hagoromo” told in Ginowan City continues as follows; the son became King Saion, a powerful lord in the 14th century who contributed greatly for building the Kingdom of the Ryukyus.

The name “Hagoromo Kachashi” was taken from this pleasant story and combined with the energetic dance of Kachashi. Those who missed Naha’s big parade last weekend; this is a good substitute to see a parade with participants clad in Ryukyu Kingdom era dresses.

Aug. 11
King Saion’s Birth Celebration

Kankaimon Street, starting 4:20 p.m.
Praying, Opening Ceremony, Tape Cutting
Parade by Mashiki Junior High School students
Parade; King Saion in the Picture Book of History
Dancing City Eisa; Women’s Club
Youth Eisa Dance

Traditional Entertainment– Hatagashira (Flags), folk music, ritualic lion dance
All-purpose Field, starting 4:40 p.m.
Children’s Eisa Dance
Energetic City Eisa; Seniors’ Club
Special Stage, 19:05 – 21:35 p.m.
Hagoromo Taiko Drums – Namakarasu Taiko Drummers
Kachashi Festival with 200 dancers

Aug. 12
Special Stage; 17:00-21:30
The 13th Tobinsu Haninsu Kachashi Festival; 33 groups

*Fireworks are scheduled at the end on both days.
*At the end of the festival, everyone is invited to join in the final Kachashi.
*Miss Hagoromo 2001 will be crowned during the festival.

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