Hello Miyakojima Fan!
Pantu Punaha is an annual festival held in Shimajiri village of Miyakojima.
It is very unique festival and Nationally designated intangible cultural property in Japan.
Pantu Punaha festival is held during the ninth month of the lunar calendar every year.
Three men in the village put on wooden mask of God named Pantu with the body covered by mud, which is taken from sacred area.
Pantu God is supernatural beings and can spread good luck and scare away evil spirits.
Three “Pantu” men are spreading sacred mud onto newly built houses, onto newborn children’s face and body, and to the people around.
It is said that if you apply mud to your body, you will have healthy life for the next year.
However, the sacred mud smells terrible, and kids are scared about the muddy men.
Adults are waiting for being painted mud by Pantu, but at the same time, they are afraid of it.
Pantu will chase after small children, making them cry, or chase after people who are avoiding having their faces smeared with the sacred mud.
It was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018.
At that time, Namahage festival of Akita prefecture is also registered.
With Namahage festival, young men dressed in traditional straw garments and wearing large masks are visiting houses of new community members and urge them to work and study hard.
After receiving sake and mochi they leave blessing the house.
On the otherhand, Pantu looks a little embarrassed when an eledarly men recommend strong awamori liquor.
Maybe it’s because when you get drunk, it becomes difficult to run and chase people.
There are many unique local festival in Miyakojima and it should be interesting to understand them and experience them.
A list of English blog articles can be found at Miyakojima Fan!
Please note that the all are written in Japanese except Miyakojima Fan! and English tour page.
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