Hanazono no Onda no Mai

The village of Hanazono has close connections with the Buddhist Center of Mt. Koya.Its name, which means "flower garden", derives from the flowers that the villagers offered to the mountain when Buddhist monks first went to live there. The village's cultural connection with Mt.Koya is reflected in its traditional performing arts, one example of which is the Onda dance. Said to date to the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), it was a way for farmers to entertain themselves while working in the rice fields. Each stage of the annual rice farming process, from flooding the fields to the final harvest, is depicted through kyogen-style dance movements. The performance is offered to the gods as a prayer for a bountiful harvest for the year. The roles of the participants and the lines they speak are set, and the people of the village act as performers. This type of performing art honoring the rice field is precious in that it represents the longstanding, deep bond between the Japanese people and their agricultural tradition. The Hanazono Onda dance is a classic example of such an art.
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