Ritual held for good harvest and revival from earthquake

Residents and volunteers in a farming area in Ishikawa Prefecture in Noto Peninsula which was hit by an earthquake on the New Year's Day have taken part in a ceremony called "mushi-okuri."

The ritual has been conducted every year after the rice planting is done to chase harmful insects away from rice fields with torches.

About 80 people gathered in the Omaki district of Nanao City on Saturday. They carried bamboo torches about one-meter long.

They walked slowly ringing bells and beating drums praying for a speedy recovery from the earthquake and rebuilding of the community.

The quake damaged irrigation canals that water the rice fields.
Most of the farmers in the district could not plant rice this year.

They thought about cancelling the event but they decided to hold it to keep the community spirit going.

One of the participants was a volunteer from Kobe City who came to help shortly after the quake.

She said that the situation has not changed much since the earthquake but during the ritual she could feel the hopes of the community residents for rebuilding their lives.

The leader of the organizing group, Urakami Hiroyuki, said that he is grateful to the many people who helped make the event possible.

He added that the community will work together to bring back normal life and the area's beautiful scenery.