(CNN) — This time a year ago, thousands gathered for Japan's annual Hadaka Matsuri -- also popularly known as the "Naked Festival"-- in Okayama prefecture in the southern part of Honshu island. Also known as Saidaiji Eyo, Hadaka Matsuri takes place on the third Saturday of February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, about a 30-minute train ride from Okayama city. In this picture taken on February 18, 2017, worshippers wait for the priest to throw the sacred batons during the annual Hadaka Matsuri at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama. Uninterrupted for 500 yearsAs part of the Naked Festival, participants purify themselves with freezing cold water before entering the main temple. In a statement highlighting their reasons for going ahead with a severely downsized version of the festival, organizers noted that it's has continued uninterrupted for over 500 years.
Source: CNN February 22, 2021 09:00 UTC