Before the main event of actually pulling the giant rope, there were plenty of festival activities that went on. It made the wait more bearable for us attendees. Me and my friend, Joshua, wandered around where the festival members staged at to chill, eat, drink, fix their customes, and prepare themselves before the actual event begins.
Luckily, the ones we hang out with have extra pastime shenanigans for us to witness – the passing of the bottle of wine.
This was not new to me. I had seen a simlar one before during a Greek Festival in Ventura, California. I was surprised to see it again here in Japan. People around the circle sing and chant. The person with the bottle dances, drinks from the bottle and passes it onto the next one.
Now, the very fun part is when my friend got invited to be in the center to drink it.
This guy did a little exhibition.
They also sang, made jokes and danced some more. Up until the magic begins …
The city festival representatives paraded in the streets with children raising flags, playing music, and the men holding on to their hatagashira, a pole with their specific banner on top of it.
Holding on to that pole is no easy task. Those men displayed strength and resilience carrying that heavy pole. There were times that the poles tilted down to almost dropping. Part of the whole presentation is to see which city district stablizes their banner the best.
There’s also a karate demonstration at the center of the event.
Then everyone’s favorite – the bringing of the Ryukyu kings assimilating the battle between East and West.
They met in the middle, act like they were fighting, and returned back to the rear.
This ended all the presentations and started the pulling of the giant rope…
Click here for The Pulling of the Rope.
Naha’s Tug-of-War is not just about the rope itself. It truly is a myriad of colors, fun and excitement, sportsmanship and overall exhibit of culture and tradition. An absolutely event sure not to be missed if you happened to come to this island in the month of October. I took a piece of this event with me.
I was speaking literally. I really came prepared bringing a knife, and I cut a piece of the rope to take home with me. These ladies were happy to get their piece as well.
I love the contrast on this image of a girl looking up to one of the banner poles (hatagashira), which I think says a lot about traveling and it captures the essence of coming into a cultural event…
Surely an unmissable experience, Naha’s Great Tug-of-War easily goes down as the best event in my book.
104. Wandering Cha will take you to the beauty and heart of the Philippines. Check out events, ziplining, diving, children laughing, hiking, everyday fishermen and farmers, and people she met along the way. This blogger is a legit traveller, as well as an eloquent travel writer. She even manages to get the most fun even when she travels solo. Be amazed with her photography. She captures the magnificent views of Philippines, and portaits the infectuous smiles and captiving eyes of the locals.