Japan's annual Hadaka Matsuri, also popularly known as the "Naked Festival" takes place on the third Saturday of February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, about a 30-minute train ride from Okayama city. Hadaka Matsuri celebrates the blessings of a bountiful harvest, prosperity, and fertility. Around 10,000 or so male participants spend an hour or two running around the temple grounds in preparation and purify themselves with freezing cold water, before cramming themselves into the main temple building. When the lights go out at 10 p.m. a priest throws 100 bundles of twigs and two lucky 20-centimeter-long sacred shingi batons into the crowd from a window. The men fight one to get hold of one of the bundles and/or the two sticks. There was concern about this event happening this year during the pandemic. The event has taken place for over 500 years and it already took place on February 20th. However, this year's Hadaka Matsuri event was limited to only a select, socially distanced group of 100 or so men who had caught the shingi in past years, and was closed to spectators.
Here's a look at the Naked Festival a few years ago . . . .