Archives for the day Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Summer events in Japan;Tanabata festival,summer festival,bon festival

 Summer brings many exciting moments to people’s life. It is a season of Grilling,festivals,beaches, or family vacations. Many countries have their own big festivals. In America,July 4th will be one of the big events’ day in summer.

 In Japan, there are 3 festivals during summer. One of them is “Tanabata festival”. It is also called “star festival” and it falls on July 7th.

 This festival is cerebrated based on Chinese legend. According to Japanese website Altair (star of herdsman) and Vega (star of weaver-princess) were both hard workers. Altair was on one side of the Milky way and took good care of cows and, Vega was very good at weaving,worked very hard. So,head of the stars told them to become wife and husband.However,once they got married,all they do was chatting,and  they did not work at all. Altair’s cows got very skinny and were very sick,and Vega kept saying she would weave tomorrow every time head of the stars asked her about the loom. Head of the star got mad at them,and they were separated on opposite side of Milky way. And they were allowed to meet only once a year (July 7th),and other days they were ordered to work very hard.

 Children write their wishes on strips of papers,and they put those wishes on bamboo trees. It is believed that the wishes kids write on those strips would come true.

 Another festival is called summer festivals and they are held locally. Men wear headbands,Happi (summer festival clothe), and carry float(mikoshi) around the neighborhood,shouting wasshoi,wasshoi..
Festival location usually have vendors that sell festival foods and drinks.
One of the most amazing floats you can find during the summer festival is in Hirosaki,Aomori prefecture. If you visit Japan,look up the schedule of Neputa matsuri in Hirosaki,and see the float yourself. Very beautiful,very big,I am sure you will be wowed.

 If you are a blog subscriber or reading from facebook please click to watch the video here .

 Other than tanabata festival,summer festival, you would find “Bon festival” in Japan. It usually held in mid August around 15th. It is kind of like a memorial service to our ancestors.During the time,it is believed that their souls are welcomed with sacred fire and seen off with bonfire.

 Locally,people enjoy bon dance festival.Bon dance is the dance people dance around drum set on scaffold.  People show up in various costume.Some shows up in casual wear,some comes in yukata. Yukata is single layered cotton material kimono. And you will find many vendors at the festival locations. Some sell food and drink,some offer game such as picking up the small balls in the water with thin papers.The more balls you get,the better the prize will be.It is fun game for kids.Food there can be expensive. One can of beer can cost up to $5,while at store,you get it around $2-$3. During this bon festival season,many people go back to hometown just like people in America go back to hometown in Thanksgiving. Traffic jam is always the problem during this season.

 If you visit Japan,and had a chance to write your wishes on strip of paper to decorate bamboo trees,what your wish will be??

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Jun 25, 2009 | Comments are off | Uncategorized