Monday, June 13, 2011

Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival

Chagu Chagu Umakko(チャグチャグ馬コ) is a festival held on the second Saturday of June.
A parade featuring bedecked 100 head of horses along a 15-kilometer(this year, 14km) course from Onikoshi Sozen Shrine(鬼越蒼前神社) in Takizawa Village to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine(盛岡八幡宮) in Morioka City lasts about four hours.

"Chagu Chagu" comes from the sound of bells worn by the horses. "Umakko" means horses.

Present-day Iwate Prefecture has been famous for horse breeding since the eighth century. Many farmers in the area cared about their farm horses and lived under one roof with them.

The festival derives from the custom that farmers visited Onikoshi Sozen Shrine with their horses to pray for the animals' health on the 5th day of the 5th month in the lunar calendar.

Both farmers and horses were in a state of complete burnout around that time when rice was planted. Farmers expressed appreciation for their horses at the festival.

This year the afflicted children in Tohoku rode the festival horses.

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