Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Next Month: The Soma Nomaoi Horse Festival

We are always stoked when someone tells us there is another meaning tied to the simple word soma. When we started Soma Fabrications, we were told there had been a Japanese bicycle brand in the 1970's with the name Soma. It meant "running horse".

Last year we found out more info regarding soma in Japan. Soma is a city in the Fukushima Prefecture. The 1034-year old Soma Nomaoi Horse Festival or "Wild Horse Chase" takes place every July there. In this historical event, 600 mounted samurai in traditional Japanese armor, with long swords at their side and ancestral banners streaming from their backs, parade across open fields. There are also various competitions like one to capture a flag shot out into the field by fireworks, wrangling "wild" horses, and straight out racing.

No Helmets Required:

Unlike bicycle races, helmets are not used during the competive events since they are ornamental and not very secure and can trip a horse, if they fall off during an event. But they do compete wearing these very cool ancestal banners. Who thinks these would make awesome safety flags on the daily commute? (Images from Charminda and Samurai Dave. Find out more here and here. Want video? Go here.)
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