The Demon Festival is a festival held at Akumikanbe-shinmei shrine, which has been inherited from the past as a festival that signals the beginning of spring to the Higashi Mikawa area. This festival is held every year, on the 10th and 11th of February, as a religious service in which the mythology of the beginning of Japan is integrated into Shinto dancing, and each dance supports the story. As a valuable festival in which the dances that caught on from the Heian Period to the Kamakura Period were inherited without the classical form of them being altered, this festival is designated as an important intangible folk culture asset of Japan.
The climax of the festival is “the raillery between red demons and goblins” performed on the 11th. The red demons represent malevolent gods, and the goblins represent military gods. A battle between them takes place through their secret arts, as the goblins try to punish the red demons, which are playing pranks. After three attempts from the red demons, the goblins can no longer tolerate the pranks. Then, realizing their error, their sins and impurities are cleansed with the powdered mochi (rice cake) and cereal powder that they brought. This event makes atonement for the people of the area. This mochi is made from expectorant candy. Red demons offer it in front of the altar while shouting “Aa-ka-i”. While scattering the white powder with the expectorant candy, the demons leave the shrine and parade around town. It is said that eating this mochi acts provides a protective charm from evil and prevents the eater from becoming ill in the summer.