Ever since the Fukushima Daichi accident a lot of things had been put on hold….life had been put on hold. It’s time to rebuild, renew and reignite the passions. In a step in this direction is the resurrection of the annual Soma Nomaoi festival in Minamisoma, Fukushima prefecture. In the wake of the quake, nuclear disaster and subsequent evacuation orders, the festival had been cancelled last year. Now that life is moving towards normalcy, the local people have decided to take the symbolic first step towards recovery.
Locals dressed in their flamboyant samurai costumes, riding horses and observing the traditional festivities; it’s all coming back to life once again. Minamisoma is a small community situated only 20km from the nuclear plant. The festival not only brings back hope of reconstruction, but also inspiration for the younger generation. This heritage festival basically recreates a medieval battlefield, and has originated from secret military exercises held by samurai warriors belonging to the tight-knit Soma clan.
This past Saturday saw the streets came alive with locals thronging them. Many people came back home, just for the festival. Colorfully dressed samurai galloping on horses and a specially-built hippodrome for the three-day festival were the center of attraction. At the sound of the conch horns, the ancient show of military ceremonies and pageantry featuring about four hundred horses was showcased. Many cited Nomaoi as their soul connection to their hometown, and rightly so. Despite all the hiccups, the organizers decontaminated the racetrack and stands, and brought in the horses from other regions.
[Via Gulf News]
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