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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Tendōsha matsuri
Rituals observing hatsu'uma (the first day of the horse) in the sixth month of the lunar calendar are conducted at Wadatsumi Jinja in Mine Town, Kami-Agata County, Nagasaki Prefecture. After three young men are chosen as the tōban (people who are in charge of the ritual for that year), they lead the young villagers to the beach where male villagers catch kusabi fish while female villagers gather kuzuma mollusks. On the day of the festival, a special food offering (shinsen) is prepared from an alcoholic barley beverage, kusabi, and kuzuma, and is offered during a ceremony at the shrine. After this ceremony, the tōban take the shinsen and go to the beach with the male villagers, where they distribute the shinsen among the men. Female villagers are banned from the beach on this day. The three tōban collect sand and pebbles on the beach and pile them to a height of over two meters. Though the origin of this festival is unclear, a taboo area, called Tendōchi, exists on Tsushima Island. There may have been some link between the name of this ritual and tendō shinkō as a popular faith. Moreover, this ritual is also called yakuma matsuri. Some scholars believe that yakuma, which is written in the hiragana phonetic script, actually signifies "inauspicious horse," written with the characters .

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