Crowds of men wearing nothing but loincloths joined a nighttime festival in western Japan, vying to catch wooden sticks said to bring good luck.
The annual “Naked Festival” was held on Saturday on the grounds of Saidaiji Temple in the city of Okayama.
The tradition dates back to the 16th century and is designated as one of Japan’s intangible cultural properties.
Participants brave the cold as they try to catch 2 wooden sticks thrown from a window of the temple’s main building into the darkness of night. Those who catch the sticks and manage to carry them away are said to be “lucky men” for the entire year.
The temple says this year’s festival drew about 10,000 men, who packed the area as they shouted rhythmically. They began to hold their hands up in anticipation more than one hour before the good luck charms were actually thrown.
There was heated competition when all the lights in the area were turned off at 10 PM.
Two groups of 3 became the lucky men for this year.
Source and image: NHK