Once a year, on Jan 3rd, Hakozaki Shrine Tamaseseri (Ball-Catching Festival) is held in Fukuoka. This is a traditional event that exists for more than five hundred years. Group of men wearing loincloth only are struggle on catching a ball.
This is a special ball 30 cm (0.98 foot) diameter and eight kg (17.64 Pound) weight. The competitor has to catch the ball and lift it high above his head. According to tradition it brings a good luck and success. The competitors are divided into two groups, one represents the farmers and the soil and the other represents the fishermen and the sea.
If the winner comes from the group of the farmers, it’s mean that the coming year will be a good fertile year with a great harvest. It the fishermen group wins, the coming year will be rich with fishes. On 13:00 o’clock the competitors enter the shrine and in spite of the frozen, winter, cold water are sprayed on them.
The competition starts and the wet competitors call load ”Oisa! Oisa!” and try to grab the ball while cold water are continuously sprayed during the struggle. Mass of locals and tourists watch and encourage the competitors in this ancient competition.