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Last updated: December 21, 2020
Burn your Daruma doll in appreciation of a good year
Gunma's iconic Daruma dolls take center stage at the Maebashi Hatsuichi Festival, held every January since the 1600s. One of the festival's main spectacles is the large Daruma bonfire, in which participants burn the dolls in appreciation for their help in bringing good fortune over the previous year. Visitors purchase a new Daruma doll for good luck in the coming year at the festival, and choices range greatly in size. The streets are lined with stalls of all sorts, selling amulets, potted plants, and a range of festival foods.
The festivities are capped off by a parade that features a portable shrine (called "mikoshi") and traditional singers and dancers.
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