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Hōnensai at Tagata Shrine in Komaki
|Significance||Celebrates the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manner of prosperity and fertility|
|Next time||15 March 2020|
Harvest Festival (豊年祭, Hōnensai) is a fertility festival celebrated every year on March 15 in Japan. Hōnen means prosperous year in Japanese, implying a rich harvest, while a matsuri is a festival. The Hōnen festival and ceremony celebrate the blessings of a bountiful harvest and all manner of prosperity and fertility.
The venerated Shinto deities is Mitoshi (御歳神, Mitoshi-no-kami) and female deity Tamahime (玉姫命, Tamahime-no-mikoto). Mitoshi is the son of the Shinto male deity Toshigami (年神) or known by local as Ōtoshi (大歳神, Ōtoshi-no-kami) and grandson of the Shinto deity Susanoo. Tamahime is a princess and the daughter of Ō'arata (大荒田命, Ō'arata-no-Mikoto), the matriarch of Owari clan (尾張氏) of her husband Take'inadane (健稲種命, Take'inadane-no-mikoto) who were blessed with two sons and four daughters. After her husband's death, she returned to his hometown Arata (situated close to Komaki), encouraged to cultivate with the help of her father Ō'arata, honor and achieved his achievements.
The best known of these festivals takes place in the town of Komaki, just north of Nagoya City. The festival's main features are Shinto priests playing musical instruments, a parade of ceremonially garbed participants, all-you-can-drink sake, and a wooden phallus.
The 280 kg (620 pound), 2.5 meter (96 inch)-long, 200-250 year old Japanese cypress wooden phallus called youbutsu (陽物, lit. "the male object") or ō-owase-gata (大男茎形, lit. "the grand Phallus shape/ object") which is carried from a shrine called Shinmei Sha (in even-numbered years) in Komaki on a large hill or from Kumano-sha Shrine (in odd-numbered years), to a shrine called Tagata Jinja (田縣神社) in Komaki, Tagata, Aichi Prefecture.
The festival starts with celebration and preparation at 10:00 a.m. at Tagata Jinja, where all sorts of foods and souvenirs (mostly phallus-shaped or related) are sold. Sake is also passed out freely from large wooden barrels. At about 2:00 p.m. everyone gathers at Shinmei Sha for the start of the procession. Shinto priests say prayers and impart blessings on the participants and mikoshi, as well as on the large wooden phallus, which are to be carried along the parade route.
When the procession makes its way down to Tagata Jinja the phallus in its mikoshi is spun furiously before it is set down and more prayers are said. Everyone then gathers in the square outside Tagata Jinja and waits for the mochi nage, at which time the crowd is showered with small rice cakes which are thrown down by the officials from raised platforms. The festival concludes at about 4:30 p.m.
- Tagata Shrine Honen Festival 田縣神社 豊年祭 (contains photos showing many of the events described above)
- Japan: Nothing says springtime like a penis festival (Global Post, March 16, 2010)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hōnen Matsuri (Tagata Shrine).|
- http://www.tagatajinja.com/index.html (Japanese; official homepage of Tagata-Jinja)
- Yamasa Institute Tagata Jinja - Hounen Matsuri site (English)
- Phallus photos and bits of info
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