Paantu is held in part to help drive out demons and removing any trace of bad luck that is hanging around on Miyako. In preparation for the festival, a group of local men are “elected” to portray the evil devil or god Paantu. The men then cover themselves with mud, leaves, and branches and finally the ceremonial black mask of Paantu. The menacing-looking group then rambles around visiting the locals smearing mud on folks, doors to homes and even police cars in order to ward off evil spirits. The popularity (and signifigance) of the festival has drastically faded in recent years as it has become increasingly difficult to recruit people willing to cover themselves in mud and scare the shit out of little kids—which I find hard to believe because all that sounds like a pretty fun time if you ask me. I’ve posted some photos taken at various Paantu Festivals for you to scroll through below and a couple of videos of good old Paantu terrorizing kids and covering them in mud.
Footage from a Paantu festival. That kid isn’t going to need therapy. Nope. Not her.