There is a custom of Higan-Jishi that signs the coming of spring in Aizu-Wakamatsu city, Fukushima prefecture. The Shishi-mai, a lion dance, was passed on to Aizu region about 380 years ago during the Edo era. The tradition says that dancers in Tochigi prefecture first taught the dance in Aizu. A long time ago, the Shishi-mai was dedicated to temples and shrines in order to suppress the epidemic in Aizu during spring equinox. Because of that, the dance has been called Higan-Jishi, the equinoctial lions. Since then, it has become a spring tradition of Aizu to pray for the ancestors, for the good health and for rich harvest. On the spring equinox day this year, the sound of flutes and drums echo once again, and 3 lions danced wonderfully, reflecting people’s wishes.
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