What's "NAMAHAGE"?

 
 

Are there any crybabies here?
Any kids who don't listen to their parents?

 

On New Year’s Eve, young men of the various villages dressed as Namahage go from house to house shouting loudly “Are there any crybabies here? Any kids who don’t listen to their parents?” and “Does the woman of the house wake up early?” To the people of Oga, the Namahage are visiting gods that come with the New Year to warn against laziness, and bring protection from illness and disasters, a good harvest, and plentiful food from the mountains and sea. The houses that welcome the Namahage prepare traditional food and sake and offer it graciously to them. 
Namahage events used to be held on the Lunar New Year in Oga, but now they are held on Dec.31. Due to a lack of participants to pass on the tradition, the number of areas holding Namahage events has been decreasing year by year. However they have recently been making a comeback. In 1978, Oga’s Namahage were designated officially as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset.

 

 

泣く子はいねがー、親の言うこど聞がね子はいねがー

 

大晦日の晩、それぞれの集落の青年たちがナマハゲに扮して、「泣く子はいねがー、親の言うこど聞がね子はいねがー」「ここの家の嫁は早起きするがー」などと大声で叫びながら地域の家々を巡ります。
男鹿の人々にとってナマハゲは、怠け心を戒め、無病息災・田畑の実り・山の幸・海の幸をもたらす、年の節目にやってくる来訪神です。
ナマハゲを迎える家では、昔から伝わる作法により料理や酒を準備して丁重にもてなします。
男鹿市内の「ナマハゲ行事」は、かつて小正月に行われていましたが、現在は12月31日の大晦日に行われています。後継者不足などで、年々行う地区は減っていましたが、近年、復活の動きもみせています。
昭和53年「男鹿のナマハゲ」として重要無形民俗文化財に指定されました。

 

 
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