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To gods of mountain and gods of ocean

Date Posted: 2003-08-22

Ada, a small village that is a part of Kunigami-son in northern Okinawa is the home of Shinugu Festival, a sacred ceremony that local men perform every second year. The festival is officially designated as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural property.


During the ceremony, men of all ages of the village cover their bodies with leaves and go into the jungle to perform a sacred ritual that symbolizes their belief that this time of the year gods descend to the world of living. The “shinugu” ritual means “a ritual for men and brothers” as the participating men are considered to personify the gods. The men pray for rich harvest and prosperity both from the god of the mountain and the god of the sea. By wearing the leaves and grass the men believe that they become closer to the nature and thus closer to the gods.

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