The yah-ya quarrelling festival

Feb. 1-Feb. 5  Yah-Ya Matsuri Festival
Yah-Ya Matsuri Festival takes place at Owase Shrine, Owase, Mie Pref.

The festival with a 300-year tradition is known as a “quarreling” festival. Men in traditional white costumes shove and jostle one another at three places in the city from 7 p.m., and then kori-kaki, men jumping into icy ocean of Owase Bay to purify themselves, takes place from at 8:30 p.m. on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

On the 5th, a procession of feudal lord and local dance is held on the old Kumano road to the Shrine from noon to 4 p.m.. Japanese archery is demonstrated at 7 p.m. and shishimai lion dance is demonstrated in the precincts of the shrine at 8:40 p.m..
Access: The JR Kisei Honsen Line to Owase Station, and then walk 10 minutes.

The origins of this festival are obscure and as yet unknown. The idea of quarrelling festival is intriguing,  and one wonders if it is merely coincidental that the words yah-ya and quarrel rings a bell …that of the exhortation not to quarrel and the Quranic prophet John Yahya.

The significance of the birthday is measured from the Noble Qur’an, as it declared about Prophet Yahya (a.s.) “And peace be upon him the day he was born.” [9]


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