Photo of the Day

celebrants of the Saidi-ji Eyo festival in Japan
December 21, 2013

The Blessed Man

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Photo Contest Images

The Saidai-ji Eyo festival, considered one of the three strangest festivals in Japan, is a Buddhist ritual in which 9,000 men compete to grab just a pair of sacred wooden batons to decide who will be the "blessed man" for the year. The over 500-year-old tradition of Eyo is based on an underlying understanding of the state of human life, greater than the ideals and trends of a single generation, and this idea has been cherished and passed down through the centuries.

(This photo and caption were submitted to the 2013 National Geographic Photo Contest.)

See all contest entries »
Browse galleries of our editors' favorites »

Photograph by Yosuke Kashiwakura
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19