Cutting Giant Serpents to Wish for Rich Harvests"Takekiri-eshiki" at Kurama-dera Temple, Kyoto20 June 2016 - Temples/Shrines
"Takekiri-eshiki," a ceremony to ward off disasters by slashing green bamboo representing great serpents, took place on June 20 at Kurama-dera Temple in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto. Many spectators raptly watched men dressed as warrior monks wielding swords vigorously.
The bamboo-cutting ceremony has its roots in a story about the high priest Buen, who vanquished a giant snake approximately 1,100 years ago. Since the mid-Edo Period, two groups, "Omi-za" and "Tamba-za" have competed to see which group could cut bamboo logs faster in order to predict whether their harvests would be rich or poor.
First, "Take-narashi," or a procedure to assure that both groups' bamboo had the same number of internodes, was carried out. Then as soon as the chief priest Konin Shigaraki swung her Japanese cypress fan down as the starting signal, "Shobu-gari," or the cutting competition, began with two men from each group cutting the bamboo using machete-like swords with roughly 40 centimeter blades. Once the Tamba-za group finished cutting the bamboo into six pieces, one of them shouted, "Tamba wins," and loud cheers and applause erupted.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)