Unusual Japanese festivals.
The whole world knows that the Japanese are a very hardworking nation, they literally live at work. They show the same zeal in organizing festivals and celebrating holidays. Surprisingly, there are only 15 public holidays in Japan, not to mention various traditional holidays and festivals. It is difficult to count how many holidays and festivals there really are in Japan, given that there are about 190,000 temples in the land of the rising sun, and each of them organizes a festival at least once a year, and some bring the number of holidays to 70 per year. In addition to religious celebrations, the Japanese organize fire festivals, dance festivals, snow festivals, various music festivals, and others. Many celebrations include traditional challenges that demonstrate strength, agility, endurance, and courage, and can be not only quiet and calm, but also completely wild, unbridled, and sometimes even dangerous.
Tokushima Awa Odori.
Tokushima Awa Odori is a huge dance festival in Tokushima that attracts more than 1.3 million tourists every year from August 12 to 15. Participants dress in bright colored clothes and dance, accompanying on shamisen, gongs, flutes. Awa Odori is part of the great Obon festival. Dancing is divided into day and night dances. Daytime dances are reserved and elegant, while night dances are energetic and active. The audience is also invited to participate.
From August 3 to 6, the Kanto Matsuri Lantern Festival is held in Akita, Japan. Participants show remarkable dexterity, demonstrating their ability to manage huge bamboo poles, which are attached to clusters of lanterns with burning candles inside. Such constructions are called Kanto. The weight of such poles together with lanterns can reach 50 kg. And the night procession is the most spectacular part of the festival. The participants are divided into groups, line up in rows and at the same time raise the kanto up, showing their skills.
Sapporo Yuki Matsuri.
In February, Sapporo hosts a snow festival for a whole week. It appeared by chance, when in 1950, bored students made several snow sculptures in Odori Park. The Japanese liked the idea so much that the snow festival has since become an annual event. Every year, visitors to Odori Park can admire about one and a half hundred huge snow and ice figures, which attract several million people. For safety reasons, the height of the sculptures is limited to avoid accidents when cleaning the structures after the festival.
Jidai Matsuri-this historical festival, the so-called “Festival of Ages”, is held in Kyoto on October 22, although sometimes due to the weather, the date of the holiday may be moved. The procession is attended by approximately 2,000 people in clothes from different eras. Here you can see both historical characters of Kyoto, and beautiful geishas, and noble samurai, and even mythical birds, in whose costumes children are often dressed up.
Since the 17th century, the Japanese have been organizing a fireworks festival. Traditionally, the festival is held on the last Saturday of July and is a sight not to be missed. Thousands and thousands of rockets fly into the sky to bloom it with giant fiery flowers. In addition to flowers, Japanese masters, competing with each other, draw whole pictures on the sky: hieroglyphs, tailed stars, mythical animals and birds, creating a unique fairy-tale atmosphere.
One of the craziest Japanese holidays is Hadaka Matsuri, or the Race for the Nude. On the third Saturday of February, thousands of men, dressed only in loincloths, bathe in the river, and then begin to run around the temple and arrange duels among themselves, apparently to keep warm. And so on until midnight, when the culmination of the holiday comes. A sacred wand is thrown into the crowd, and the person who catches it becomes a “naked man”. Everyone should definitely touch it, so that the naked person takes away all the misfortunes and problems. The poor guy reaches the finish line in a semi-conscious state, covered with bruises and abrasions. Without injuries and hypothermia, this fun holiday is not complete by itself.