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Dragon boat races bountiful next week

Date Posted: 2009-05-21

Eleven different Haarii Festivals are on tap for next Wednesday, the perfect opportunity for island residents to soak up the customs and culture of one of Okinawa’s most significant centuries-old events.

Dragon boat races pay homage to farmers seeking good harvests and fishermen wanting safety on the waters, and virtually every community on the island with adjacent waters gets into the act with a festival each year. Traditional dragon boat races originated in China centuries ago as a part of prayers for good harvests and safety. Today, the races are held across Okinawa, in small villages as well as the more well organized festivities hosted by the larger cities.

The 11 haarii festivals on May 27th are the Itoman Haarii starting at 9:15 a.m. at Itoman Fishing Port, Minatogawa Haarii beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Minatogawa Fishing Port in Yaese City, the Maegane Haarii at Maegane Fishing Port in Onna Village beginning at 10 a.m., and the Oshima Haarii starting at 8:30 a.m. at Oshima Port. There’s also the Kaijin Festival beginning at 1 p.m. at Ie Island Port, the Aguni Village Kaijin Festival starting at 8 a.m. at Aguni Part, the Gima Haarii starting at Gima Fishing Port on Kume Island, and the Maedomari Haarii beginning at 9 a.m. at Maedomari Fishing Port on Kume Island.
Kume Island is also the setting for the Torishima Haarii beginning at 9 a.m. at Torishima Fishing Port. The Tonaki Haari at Tonaki Fishing Port on Tonaki Island gets under way at 8 a.m., and the Aharen Haarii begins at 9 a.m. at Aharen Port on Tokashiki Island.

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