さいたまつり映え フォトコンテスト2018

熊谷うちわ祭歴史・見どころ

歴史

「熊谷うちわ祭」は、八坂神社の祭礼です。江戸中期の1750年、当時、各寺院でバラバラに行われていた祭りを統一したい、と町衆が嘆願書を役人に提出したことが、熊谷の夏祭りの始まりと言われています。もともとは、神輿渡御(とぎょ)※1だけが行われていましたが、明治24年に江戸から山車を購入してきたことから、山車による巡行行事が始まります。

「うちわ祭」と呼ばれるようになったのも明治からで、疫病を除ける風習に基づき各商店が振舞っていた赤飯の代わりに、料亭「泉州楼」の主人が“うちわ”を配布し、それが広まったと言われています。

また、祭りの特徴の一つであるお囃子にも歴史があります。現在演奏されている「熊谷囃子」は、群馬県で多く演奏されていた「さんてこ囃子」が元になっています。「熊谷囃子」は鉦(かね)の大きさにも特徴があります。直径が30センチから45センチの円形の大鉦が使用されており、大鉦を叩いたり、擦ったりして、音色を生み出すのが印象的です。

 

The Kumagaya Uchi Matsuri is a festival held as part of Yasaka Shrine. In 1750, in the middle of the Edo era, the local businessmen started a petition to integrate the various festivals held by each temple. This is said to have been the start of the Kumagaya summer festival. Originally, it only invovled a togyo rite for the portable shrine*1, but in 1891, the town bought a new float from the capital of Edo (Tokyo), so this led to hosting a procession for it.

It was also around this time (in the Meiji era) that the festival began colloquially being referred to as the “fan festival.” In lieu of the red rice served by local shops as a warding-off of evil, the owner of Senshuro, a fine dining establishment, began distributing hand fans, and this sparked a boom which led to the event being called the “fan festival.”

There is also a history behind the traditional performers, another unique aspect of the event. The Kumagaya-bayashi performed today is derived from the Santeko-bayashi, widely performed throughout Gunma prefecture. One unique aspect of Kumagaya-bayashi performers is the large size of the hand gongs they use. These range in size from a diameter of 30-45 centimeters, and are struck and stroked to tweak the sound produced.

見どころ

1日目の夜には初叩き合いが行われます。JR熊谷駅の広場に全12基の山車・屋台が揃い、お囃子を競演します。自分たちの町に誇りを持った人々が、「我が町こそ一番!」とばかりに、お囃子を披露し合い、白熱した空気に包まれます。

2日目には、山車のお披露目会ともいうべき「巡行祭」が行われます。歩行者天国となった国道17号線を各町の山車が整列して巡行し、観客を魅了します。各町の山車をじっくり見るなら、この「巡行祭」がおすすめです。

3日目は、静と動のコントラストが最も感じられるクライマックスが見どころです。午後9時頃を回ると、全12基の山車・屋台が御仮屋(おかりや)※2前のお祭り広場に集結し、祭りの“動”の部分である、「熊谷囃子」の競演「曳っ合せ叩き合い(ひっかわせたたきあい)」が行われます。この瞬間、祭りの盛り上がりは最高潮に達し、辺りは熱気に包まれます。その後、祭りは徐々に“静”の部分に向かいます。祭りの中心となる年番町の引き継ぎ「年番送り」が厳格な空気のなか執り行われます。最後に、御神輿が本宮(ほんぐう)※3まで戻っていく「還御(かんぎょ)※4祭」をもって、祭りは静かに幕を閉じます。

《注釈》
1、渡御:神輿・山車などが出かけて行くこと
2、御仮屋:祭りの期間中、お神輿が止まる場所。行宮(あんぐう)ともいう。
3、本宮:神霊を他に分けて祀(まつ)った時の、もとの神社、ここでは愛宕八坂神社
4、還御祭:御仮屋から本宮まで神輿をお返しするための巡行

 

On the first night, a gong striking event is held. A total of twelve festival floats appear in the plaza around JR Kumagaya Station, with musical accompaniment taking place. Everyone vies for the attention of their particular town as the best one, with performers squaring off in an intense performance to see who can dazzle the crowd best.

On the second day, the floats actually engage in a procession through town, making this functionally the first opportunity to see them in all their glory. National route 17, which is closed to traffic and opened to pedestrians, is given over to a parade of orderly floats, charming the crowd. The best way to see this event is to see the details of each float as they make their way along the route.

On the third day is the climax, in which you can truly witness the contrast between dynamism and stillness. Around 9:00 PM, all twelve floats congregate together at the festival grounds in front of the okariya*2. This is where the performers showcase the Kumagaya-bayashi, the “dynamic” aspect of the event. The festival reaches a peak of energy at this point, and everyone in the vicinity gets excited. After this point, the festival begins winding its way down towards “stillness.” The Nenban-okuri, in which the rites for Nenban-cho are handed down, is the crux of the festival and is conducted in a solemn and austere mood. Finally, the portable shrine returns to the hongu*3, and the gankyo-sai*4 marks the conclusion.

 

Editor’s note:
1. Togyo: portable shrines and floats making a procession out from their place of storage.
2. Okariya: the place where the shrine rests during the festival. Also referred to as angu.
3. Hongu: when dividing a divine spirit consecrated at a shrine into two locations, the original shrine location. In this case, it refers to Atago Yasaka Shrine.
4. Gankyo-sai: the procession of returning the portable shrine from the okariya to the hongu.

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