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Home » 5. Rites and Festivals » Individual Shrine Observances
Haya-uma matsuri
Festival of messenger (quick) horses. A supplication festival for the increase of animal stock carried out on the vernal equinox at Ukemochi Shrine, on the grounds of Nitta Shrine (Nitta jinja) in Miyauchi Town, Sendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture. Horses are decorated with cloth, rope, and bells in many colors, with ritual batons and paper mache denden drums on their back. The procession begins in the early morning. After the ceremonies, horses led by more than ten young people prance and leap about to the rhythms of shamisen music in the middle of a circle formed by the crowd on the shrine grounds (keidai). Also called the horse dance.
       On February 18, at Kagoshima Shrine (Kagoshima jingū) in Hayato Town, Aira District, Kagoshima Prefecture, there is a horse dance called Festival of the Horses Decorated with Bells.

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