Yukka Nu Hii

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Yukka Nu Hii
Observed by Okinawa Islands
Type local, cultural
Significance Giving thanks to the sea and agricultural gods and asking for their continued help for the future
Celebrations dragon boat races
Date 4th day of the 5th lunar month
Related to tango no sekku (Children's Day)

Yukka nu hii (Okinawan: 四日ぬ日 or 四日の日, ユッカヌヒー) is an annual festival of the Okinawa Islands of southwestern Japan, which is traditionally celebrated on the 4th day of the 5th month of the lunisolar calendar. It centers on the traditional dragon boat (haarii, or haaree in Itoman) races. The festival dates back to circa 1400, where it is said to have been adopted from the Chinese. The dragon boat races are a form of giving thanks to the sea and agricultural gods and asking for their continued help for the future.[2]

Currently, Naha is host to the largest dragon boat race, although Itoman and Tamagusuku are also known for holding large races.[3]

Like many other elements that characterize modern Okinawan culture, yukka nu hii used to have a limited geographic distribution. In northern Okinawa, it was seen as a festival of south–central Okinawa. The dragon boat race is said to have been introduced to Unten, Nakijin Village in the mid-Meiji period, or from the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century.[4]

Since the Meiji period, many Itoman fishermen have migrated to other parts of Okinawa Prefecture, with their haaree races. For example, they started the boat race in Ishigaki City of the Yaeyama Islands in 1906.[5] Ethnologist Matsuo Kōichi noted that in some coastal communities of the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands, boat races were no longer associated with the yukka nu hii festival but with the harvest festival of the 6th lunar month or the shichi festival of the 9th month. The Amami Islands of Kagoshima Prefecture have similar boat races. They are usually held in August and appear to have distinct roots.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nijima team wins V6 at the Itoman Harley race". Ryukyu Shimpo. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 
  2. ^ http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=7640 "Haarii Dragon Boat races promise Monday excitement" Japan Update (2007-06-14)
  3. ^ http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=7556 Charles, Bill "Dragon boat races add excitement to Golden Week" (2007-05-02)
  4. ^ Nakijin-son shi hensan iinkai 今帰仁村史編纂委員会 (1975). Nakijin-son shi 今帰仁村史 (in Japanese). 
  5. ^ Katō Hisako 加藤久子 (2000). "Yaeyama ni okeru Itoman gyomin no shutsuryō to ijū 八重山における糸満漁民の出漁と移住". In Hōsei daigaku Okinawa bunka kenkyūsho Okinawa Yaeyama chōsa iinkai 法政大学沖縄文化研究所 沖縄八重山調査委員会. Okinawa Yaeyama no kenkyū 沖縄八重山の研究 (in Japanese). 
  6. ^ Matsuo Kōichi 松尾恒一 (2012). "Iriomote-jima no inasaku girei to ryūsen kyōsō 西表島の稲作儀礼と龍船競争". In Matsuo Kōichi 松尾恒一. Ryūkyūko 琉球弧 (in Japanese). pp. 214–261.