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Hassaku Matsuri is a festival in Japan reserved for asking the gods for a bountiful harvest and happy life. It occurs every year during the first day of the eighth lunar month, usually falling during the beginning of September. Just as dialects and traditional foods vary depending on the region, Hassaku Matsuri is celebrated in vastly contrasting ways, especially in Kumamoto, Fukui, and Ibaraki prefectures. From intricate structures made of natural materials to an extremely inappropriate goblin, join us as we explore a few of the many Hassaku traditions in Japan.

First stop, Kumamoto Prefecture where a giant Totoro with a nose of pinecones swallows children whole:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.53.04 AMTwitter (happymirei)

The structures are called tsukurimono and are all handmade with natural materials found in the surrounding areas.

▼ The tsukurimono take their form with a little help from some wire and mesh.

Since they are all made of natural, local materials such as wood, bamboo, pampas grass, and pine cones, all of the structures are done up in earthy tones. Here, icy blue Elsa from Frozen is awash in brown hues:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.54.09 AMTwitter (rina_k0106)

The tsukurimono also take on a terrifying tone depending on the choice of subject:

Festival traditions are just as splendid over in Ibaraki Prefecture where they celebrate Hassaku Matsuri with beautiful traditional floats.

Oarai Town is known for its sansha floats aligned with glowing lanterns. Traditional folk dances and songs can also be found at this joyous occasion.

Hassaku Matsuri is observed in a less…shall we say “wholesome” manner in Mihama Town, Fukui Prefecture. The festival celebrations focus on the fertility or bountiful harvest aspect of the occasion, employing a tengu (long-nosed goblin) wielding an enormus phallus of no less than 50cm long and 8cm thick. The tengu chases after women and children and uses his wooden woody to poke unfortunate adult females. Some have proclaimed it as “the most perverted festival,” commenting that “any other day, this guy would be arrested” referring to the outlandish antics of the festival tengu.

▼ The children clearly do not approve…but we’re not sure if they’re crying because of their encounter with the scary goblin or the scary oversized penis…

So which area does Hassaku Matsuri the best? Which celebration would you most like to attend? Let us know your favorite and give us your reaction to that naughty tengu in the comments section!

Source: iroiro