Hirose Taisha Shrine is located in Kita Katsuragi. Every year one festival is hold here on February 11th.
It is "Sunakake Matsuri(Sand Spreading Festival)."
In this festival visitors to the shrine splash sand on each other. But why?
You can see the answer later.
First we have to go back more than 1300 years. Originally, in the festival, people prayed for a good crop. They believed that the more sand rose in the air, the larger yield of crop they could have. In the morning they conduct "Shinji", a Shinto ritual in which they offer "valuable things" to the gods, and then in the afternoon they hold the festival. The sound of a drum is a signal for the opening. All participants, adults or children, become beside themselves and splash sand on each other. It is an amazing spectacle! Those who want to take a photo should bring a plastic bag to protect their cameras.
Now, in the first place, why do they splash sand on each other?
That is because they use sand as a symbol of rain. Much rain can bring a good crop. In other words, this festival started from people' pray for a good crop.
Sites: Hirose Taisha Shrine(Kawai 99, Kawai Town, Kita Katsuragi County, Nara Prefecture)
Dates: February 11th, 2015
Time: 13:30～(start to splash)
Notes: You should bring a raincoat/a plastic bag or a plastic wrap to protect your camera.