The Saidai-ji Eyo festival, considered one of the three strangest festivals of Japan, is a Buddhist ritual in which 9000 men compete to grab just a pair of sacred wooden sticks to decide who will be the "Blessed man" for the year. A blessed man is one to whom the gods and Buddhas have brought good fortune, and it is believed that those who are awarded the sacred sticks receive them because of their deep piety. Naturally, these blessed man gain attention from others, and enjoy enough popularity to completely change their daily lives. Therefore, what is tested of each blessed man is his dignity and character. He must not let his abundant luck ruin his spirit, and must bear the task of returning the luck bestowed upon him by the gods and Buddhas back to the people. The over 500 year-old tradition of Eyo is based on an underlying understanding of the state of human life, greater than the ideals and trends of a single generation, and this idea has been cherished and passed down through the centuries.