Ha-ri- Dragon Boat Races
Every year in June, Kume Island plays host to three separate Ha-ri- Races. Ha-ri- is the Okinawan term for the Dragon Boat races that originated in China. Versions of Ha-ri- take place throughout Asia today.
The Dragon Boats are canoe like boats made of wood and propelled by a team of paddlers using traditional, wooden paddles. For more on Ha-ri- be sure to check out my post on the 2012 Kume Ha-ri- at More Things Japanese.
Ha-ri- Kume Style
Since Kume Island is so large, many of its events take place concurrently at different locations around the island. Ha-ri- races generally take place at three of the ports each year. Since Ha-ri- is a way to pray for a safe and plentiful year at sea, it is important for each area to have its own event.
On Kume, Ha-ri- occurs at Madomari Port, Gima Port, and Torishima Port. All three are smaller fishing ports that provide a safe environment to perform the boat races. Since each port is different, and each has its own history, each race is different too.
Ha-ri- usually begins in the morning around 8:00 with an initial race by the festival organizers, followed by student races and finished with adult races.
A team brings its boat to the water.
A team completes its turn at the half way marker with Garasaa Mountain in the background.
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