Friday, May. 14, 2010

Naked Festival (Okayama, Japan)

Thousands of nearly nude — and occasionally drunk — men take to a mud pit in Hadaka Matsuri, known as one of Japan's three most eccentric festivals. The Hadaka Matsuri, or naked festival, at Saidai-ji Temple, a Shinto shrine in Okayama, Japan, takes place each year in the depths of winter. The celebrations, which date back some 500 years, rage all day, culminating in some 9,000 men clad only in loincloths battling it out for a pair of lucky sticks thrown by a Shinto priest into the crowd at midnight. The winner thrusts the sticks into a wooden box filled with rice and is granted a year of happiness.