Thousands naked men gather for Japan's annual 'Hadaka Matsuri' (photos)

The event, called "Hadaka Matsuri" in Japanese, is a wild and raucous festival held every year on the third Saturday of February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, about a 30-minute train ride from Okayama city.

Approximately 10,000 men in loincloths try to snatch a lucky wooden stick during the 'Eyo' naked festival at Saidaiji Temple on February 15, 2020 in Okayama, Japan. After all the lights were turned off, the chief priest tossed a pair of 20-centimetre-long "shingi" sacred sticks from a window 4 meters above ground into the massive throng. Those who left the temple grounds holding the shingi are considered "lucky men" of this year. The Saidaiji-eyo festival, said to date to the Muromachi Period (1338-1573). (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images )
But the 10,000 or so male participants aren't as naked as the festival's name suggests.

Men in loincloths bathe in cold water to purify their souls as part of the "Hadaka Matsuri" (Naked Festival) at Saidaiji Temple on February 15, 2020 in Okayama, Japan.
They sport a minimal amount of clothing; usually a Japanese loincloth called a "fundoshi" and a pair of white socks called "tabi."

The festival, which celebrates the blessings of a bountiful harvest, prosperity and fertility, starts at around 3:20 p.m local time with a separate event for young boys -- aimed at fostering interest in younger generations.

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