This photo was taken in the Village of Ada Okinawa, Japan August 22, 2009 during the festival known as Shinugu. Pictured here are the males of the village. They are at about the halfway point coming back down from a mountain where this ritual takes place, once every two years. Women are forbidden from attending the ceremonies on the mountains.
What's whacky about this festival ?
Nothing, really. It's a tradition that has been carried on for hundreds of years.
The women are waiting in the village for the men with their jungle trimmings and carrying tree branches to descend the mountain. They use the branches to swat and shoo away evil spirits.
When the guys get back to town, they form a circle around all the women and use the branches to whack the evil spirits out of them, too !
It's all ceremonial, of course, so nobody gets whacked really hard, as far as I can tell.
Read more about the Shinugu Matsuri in OKINAWA HERE
Are there any Whacky Rituals or Festivals held during the summer months where you live ?