My town’s festival "The Sutra of Great Wisdom of Thunder" in February - Dragged-up Bearers

My town festival called ”Ikazuchi Dai-Hannya” is held the 4th Sunday of every February. About 50 young and old men who dressed up like women with lipsticks and long robes, go around house to house saying “Omedito” and praying residents' perfect state of health.

The festival is held for 300 years at my town. It is the origin in old days a Buddhist priest distributed talisman and lucky charm, and walked all house in the town when cholera spread.  So there was less patients of cholera in town. The origin of the dragged-up bearers is said that in the Edo period an elder brother who wore his younger sister’s long robe drove away evil spirits for his younger sister who had tuberculosis.

This year, 2018, the festival will be held from 9AM on February 25 Sunday at Shinzo-in temple at Higashi Kasai, Edogawa-ku,Tokyo, which is located about 15 min from Kasai-station of Tozai line. 

 As a member of town community association, I sometimes help to prepare “Ton-jiru” (miso soup with pork and vegetables) and serve to the bearers and audience right before the festival.

The following is the explanation about this festival introduced in Edogawa-Ku Home Page.

The "Sutra of Great Wisdom of" thunder with which authority of divine favor of josaishoufuku of the Sutra of Great Wisdom and several devil surrenders of thunder Fudo is united. The youths then "the Sutra of Great Wisdom of thunder" did Makura in collecting much belief from localness as "Mr. Fudo of thunder" (4, Higashikasai) on February 28, and who dressed up like a woman showily by powder and a lipstick wish resident's perfect state of health, and, one in the thunder town assembly, it coursed through.

 One which derives from damage's having disappeared when a chief bonze is encumbered with the Sutra of Great Wisdom, and "the Sutra of Great Wisdom of thunder" is surrounded each house when cholera spread in a the end of Edo period period. After that the youths my elder brother put on younger sister's long undergarment for my younger sister who had tuberculosis, and who were a trigger to have exorcized an evil spirit on the last day of an year, and did dressing up like a woman at present, a town, it started to course through. The local volunteer is also at 1:00 the said festival which stopped, to call, more, I restore about 40 years before. It's designated as ward designation intangible folk cultural properties in 1982, and it's held on last Sunday of February every year at present. Because it's held on the same day with an ordinary year and Tokyo marathon race, it's also called "back Tokyo marathon" at localness, town assembly private agreement 10km as well as a shout of "WASSHOI", it courses through freely.

 About 50 men in 10-fifties who participate in a festival gather in Higashikasai thunder hall from early morning on the day. Powder is also applied the whole face with the one of the near beauty salon cooperation and the color is changed into a vivid long undergarment and the white tabi form including pink teak in deep red lipstick and cheek in blue eyeshadow and mouth in the special eyelid. A headband of Mameshibori dyeing is wound on a head and paper money is put in, and the yellow cloth by which a purification ceremony was done is wound on a wrist, and it's completion of preparations.

 The youths who dressed up like a woman arrived at a meeting place with a sign of a drum by the departure system while giving "WO!" and a roar, and a cheer arose with big clapping from the surrounding audience. After having exchanged a few cups of liquor by the wine cask offered up and having encouraged by three final tightening, a party will hold "the Buddhist scriptures box" etc. with 600 reels of the "OHIYOUGO box" and Sutra of Great Wisdom pregnant with a spirit of the dead person and leave right away. The form of the resident who waits for a party at a front door with the celebration in one hand was seen here and there at a town, and the yellow cloth which received a purification ceremony as an offering of paper money and red and white rice cake and an amulet was handed over to a resident. A parishioner home hung one day, and was surrounded about 500 houses though it passed and hit the flank of the box with a stick of a bamboo, and a party prayed residents' perfect state of health.

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