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Photo Journal: Festive plunge


People help a giant serpent with a dragon head made of ferns and straw drink water during the "Mamada no Jagamaita" festival at Mamada Hachimangu Shrine in the city of Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, on May 5, 2018. The festival has a tradition of more than 400 years and is held to pray for rain and a bumper crop harvest before the rice planting season. It is designated by the national government as an intangible folk cultural property. Shrine parishioners from seven districts walked around the area while holding up seven giant serpents, which are each over 15 meters long, imitating dragon gods. In a ritual to drink water, a snake and its carriers plunged into a pond and thrust about. A 54-year-old man who takes photo of the festival every year said, "The moves of the serpents are strong this year and they have good spirit." (Mainichi)

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