The vast majority of festivals in Japan are not unusual. Then, there are some that are referred to as "kisai" (奇祭) or "strange festival." This is one of those.
Even to people in Japan, these unusual festivals might appear odd. But in Shintoism, a religion without a dogmatic view of right and wrong (nobody is perfect!), it is important to amuse the kami, or the gods. Many of these strange festivals appear designed to do just that, so it's important to have a sense of humor about them and approach them with an open mind!
According to IT Media, around seventy people attended the recent festival at Kunigami Shrine in Tochigi Prefecture. Japan has well over a hundred thousand Shinto shrines. This one appears to be the only one that deals with hemorrhoids.
Tradition states that those who washed their backsides and then ate egg offerings would be cured of hemorrhoids, reports Shimotsuke. The festival ceased back in 1988, but two years ago, it was revived. These days, instead of cleaning in the river, there is a "Butt Washing Stone" on the shrine's grounds. Participants turn their backsides to the stone and chant to cure their butts or to ensure that they never get hemorrhoids.
There were also elaborately decorated eggs.
Japanese site IT Media remarked about how unique this particular festival and shrine are and pointed out that it takes something with a rather gloomy image and creates an enjoyable festival, with everyone having a good time. Who knew hemorrhoids could be so much fun?
奇祭「じかたまじない」、痔の平癒願う 茂木 [Shimotsuke]
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