Sasara is another name for Shishimai (the lion dance). In this area it is called Sasara-mai (dance) after the simple woodpiece instruments (called Sasara) which are used in the dance.
It dates back to the time when the Satake Clan was moved from Mito to Akita, which is more than 400 years ago. Dancers performed along the way for the Lord Yoshinobu Satake moving to his new land, and it is said that these dancers settled down in Akita, and formed the Sasara dance.
It is now regarded as one of the Obon festival events, and is a dance for the spirits of ancestors and the newly dead as well as to wish for rich harvest. Homes with new dead will ask dancers to perform before them for the new spirit.