Mudslinging Festival (Dairokuten-no-Hadaka Matsuri)Article by: © Michael J. Rosen 2013
"Spectators Are More Than Happy to Have Their Faces Smeared With Mud."*
The Mudslinging Festival in Chiba, Japan, is one of many hadaka (Japanese for "naked") festivals held annually. At the end of every February, 30 or so men donning white loincloths called fundoshi enter a frigidly cold pond to engage in a mud-flinging free-for-all, soiling their man diapers as part of-what else? - a spiritual ritual.
Mud, known solely as the sworn enemy of carpets and kitchen floors in Western culture, represents good fortune and a bountiful harvest to the Japanese. To Westerners, it may also represents a curious form of parental care: Onlookers hand their infants to the mud-covered participants, who smear their muck on the babies' faces with a ceremonial stick.
Afterwards, competitors warm themselves around a fire, before heading into the pond to engage in muddy mayhem. The battle begins as teams of human pyramids try to topple each other, but very quickly, anarchy rules, with each man sludge-slinging for himself. Several times throughout the two-hour ordeal, the participants run back to the fire to regain a little sensation in their limbs, spreading luck by finger-painting spectators along the way.
Say what you'd like, but blessings of health and fortune come in many colors, guises, and textures, and who among us can afford to look askance at even a muddy one?
*eye-witness blogger Samurai Dave. For his full account, search "mudslinging" on his blog: www.samuraidave.wordpress.com.
No Dribbling the Squid
The above article is just one of a collection of off-beat articles on 2camels from Michael J. Rosen's wonderful No Dribbling the Squid - your front-row seat to 70 of the world's most mind-blowing feats of strength, endurance, and eccentricity.
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