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Saidaiji Eyo Kotomae

February 20, 2015

Today is the big day! Today is Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri or known to Westerners as the Naked Man Festival. It is an exciting and unique event with a long history.

Today is also the day we take on a big assignment for Getty Images News. We don’t shoot news often so when we do get an assignment we are always very excited about it. This year we were asked to also cover some of the events that precede the main festival to show the complete story to the world.

Another exciting dynamic to this year is we are also supplying video coverage to the news wire. This will be our first assignment where we need to provide both stills and video.

In a nutshell, a team from Saidaiji, where the festival takes place, goes on a 8km journey in silence in the dark of night to collect a piece of wood freshly cut by priests from a neighboring temple. That wood is brought back to Saidaiji and carved into a lucky talisman.

The talisman is then prayed upon twice a day for two weeks before the festival by the priests at Saidaiji.

Finally, the lucky talisman is tossed out into a crowd in pitch darkness which takes place today. The person who can get it out of the temple gate will be blessed with luck for the year as well as receive some traditional goods. Be sure to come check back tomorrow for the event pics!

The full set of images can be seen here.

Coverage from the 2014 festival can be seen here.

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