Shi Shi Mai Festival a.k.a Lion Dance Festival

This festival has been one that I have wanted to go to ever since we arrived in Okinawa, just over 2 years a go.

Uruma Art Theatre

Uruma Art Theatre

Unfortunately last year it was cancelled due to the weather and I can’t remember the reason for not going the year before but if the weather allowed I was determined to make it there this year.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-2

The free annual event usually takes place at the Agena Bullfighting ring which is where we headed to.  I had been to this area before and knew that parking was limited so we decided that leaving 2 hours before the 6 p.m. starting time was a good idea.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-3

As it turned out it was a great idea!  When we arrived we found a parking spot straight away; I was amazed.  Then we found out that the venue had changed which explained the empty parking lot!

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-4

Unfortunately we weren’t quite sure where it got relocated to but had some rough directions that went something like…turn right by the tree, pass 2 family marts and then turn left.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-5

We followed the directions to a tee, but the problem was we only passed 1 family mart before we reached a T-junction so we assumed we would take a left.  Oh how wrong we were.

After an hour of driving around and around and around we decided to head back to the bullring…best decision ever.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-6

This time we were handed a map and some new directions; turn right by the tree, turn right at the T-junction and then pass 2 family marts!

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-7

The new location was inside at the Uruma Art Theater; perfect in case of wet weather but I was also a little disappointed.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-8

I loved the idea of sitting outside at the bullring but inside in a theatre, well it kind of took the appeal off the festival for me.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-9

Thankfully we managed to get 3 seats and had a pretty reasonable view to watch the six shishimai groups & 1 Eisa group perform.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-10

The costumes were amazing; a wooden lacquered head and a body of fur.  In fact I am so in love with the shishi-gashira (the head) that I want to find one for my mask collection.

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-11

The dances themselves were actually a lot slower than I thought they would be but what I loved was how different each lion was in personality!

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-12

As each shishimai group was introduced we were told whether the lion was female or male and a few characteristics about the lion; aggressive, playful etc

Fun Flying Four Shishimai Festival Okinawa-13

Probably not my favorite of the festivals I have been to but pleased to have finally made it!

I am interested to see if the event will be held indoors at the Uruma Art Theatre in future years or if they will go back to the outdoor setting at Agena Bullfighting Ring.

 

Advertisements

5 responses to “Shi Shi Mai Festival a.k.a Lion Dance Festival

    • There are just so many festivals here on island its hard to get to them all! I think that weekend there were 3 big ones on the same day!

    • Yes it totally would have been this one, the past couple years it has been cancelled. Sounds like you had a great night anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s