Tag Archives: Japanese festivals

today’s holiday: Hi Matsuri


Hi Matsuri

On the evening of October 22, people light bonfires along the narrow street leading to the Kuramadera Shrine in Kurama, a village in the mountains north of Kyoto, Japan. Fire is a purifying element according to Shinto teachings, and the village is believed to be protected from accidents on this night. Soon after dusk, torches are lit. Even babies are allowed to carry tiny torches made of twigs, while young men carry torches so large it sometimes takes several men to keep them upright. Everyone chants “Sai-rei! Sai-ryo!” (“Festival, good festival!”) as they walk through the streets. More… Discuss

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today’s holiday: Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine Matsuri


Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine Matsuri

After the opening ceremonies on September 14, the annual celebration at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura, Japan, begins on the 15th with a parade of three mikoshi, portable shrines to which the spirits of the gods are believed to descend. But the highlight occurs the following day, when the Yabusame takes place. Three skilled archers dressed in hunting clothes called karishozoku ride on horseback down a straight track near the shrine’s entrance. The archers then shoot at three targets set up along the route while traveling at high speeds. More… Discuss

today’s holiday: Tenjin Matsuri


Tenjin Matsuri

The Tenjin Festival in Japan honors the scholar and statesman Sugawara Michizane (845-903), who was deified as Tenjin after his death. The festival opens at the Temmangu Shrine with the beating of the Moyooshi Daiko, a drum about five feet in diameter. The drum-cart is followed by a masked figure who represents Sarutahiko, the deity who led all the other gods to Japan. Most important is the mikoshi—the decorated shrine in which the soul of Tenjin is believed to reside. In the evening, the parade moves to the river, with numerous boats carrying glowing lanterns. More… Discuss

TODAY’S HOLIDAY: SUMINURI MATSURI


Suminuri Matsuri

Suminuri Matsuri is a New Year tradition observed for more than half a millennium in a district of Matsunoyama, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. People adorn their homes and streets for Oshogatsu (New Year’s Day) with decorations made of paper, tree branches and bamboo. After the holiday, they take down the decorations and burn them, keeping the ashes for the Suminuri Festival. People take the ashes outside and mix them with snow, then rub the concoction on each other’s faces for luckin the new year. More… Discuss

 

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