Thousands throng to Japan's annual 'Naked Festival'
HYDERABAD: Japan, well known for its age-old traditions and customs always stood atop on news headlines with ancient practices and bizarre traditions. Now, the news is tens of thousands of people throng to Japan to partake in a unique tradition and festival 'Hadaka Matsuri' which is well known as 'Naked Festival of Japan'. The festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm every year on third Saturday in the month of February. Hadka Matsuri is celebrated at Okayama prefecture in the southern part of Japan's Honshu island and is just 30 minutes journey from Okayama city with huge gatherings. On this day, tens of thousands of male devotees make a beeline to Saidaiji Kannonin Temple in Okayama prefecture to indulge themselves in traditional practices. To everyone's surprise, the devotees will not appear in the naked state as the festival names as Naked Festival. The male devotees appeared in a loincloth known as fundoshi and with a pair of white socks. Hadka Matsuri will be celebrated every year to commemorate the fruitful harvest season. The cynosure of the festival is all the male devotees in the semi-naked state will circumambulate around the temple in freezing water fro two hours which they believe that it will make themselves to get rid of the sins. At 10 pm, the priest in the temple will switch off the lights in the temple and throws twigs over the devotees. It is believed that those who catch the twigs will be blessed with a good fortune around the year. Zillions of visitors from across the blue planet will throng to Japan to capture the unique traditions of the country.