Thousands of almost naked Japanese men battle over lucky sticks at annual festival

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Around 9,000 semi-naked men gathered at the Saidaiji Temple in the city of Okayama to participate in the annual Hadaka Matsuri, also known as Naked Festival, Saturday. The participants dressed only in loincloth competed for honourable title of 'lucky man'. According to the local tradition the winner gets a year of health, wealth and prosperity. But the men have to struggle fiercely for the lucky year: at first purify themselves in freezing water, then manage to get hold a pair of lucky sticks, known as shingi, preventing others from snatching them away.