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Hanamatsuri                                                            April 22, 2001@

  Hanamatsuri is the annual 'Flower festival' held at the Shiogama shrine.  
  It coincides with the cherry blossoms blooming, but I think its significance
  is more as a spring festival, like pagan Easters, to bring luck and celebrate 
  the new season.  The whole week was called Hanamatsuri, but I think this actual 
  event has a different name.  It was a pretty big event, with over 100 children 
  dressed up in various traditional costumes, plus adults.  I don't exactly know 
  the significance of the dance in the second three photos, but there was a 
  ritual catching of a fish.  The shrine is famous for bringing luck to fisherman.  
  I assume the obvious that it was a prayer or offering to bring about luck in 
  the coming fishing season.  There was also a large parade of everyone who was 
  dressed up, some kids beat drums and gongs, others carried large bow and arrows,
  as well as the arrows seen in picture four.  I think there was some symbolism in 
  that the children were all dressed different, they seemed to represent different 
  levels of society.  Some dressed like scholars, others samurai and priests.  
  Some girls were dressed in plaid pants and flowers.   I think they were peasants. 
  The dress style seemed to be from a couple hundred years ago.  
  Most the adults I saw involved were men.  I don't know why.

  The kids drumming for the dance are my students, kawaii ne?  There is also a girl on the 
  large drum.  They learned it at school as part of their club activities.  Much cooler than 
  the badminton club.

boys1.JPG (131066 bytes)    dancer2front.JPG (99344 bytes)    drums.JPG (73703 bytes)  

dancer1.JPG (93075 bytes)    boys2.JPG (109436 bytes)    flagbearers.JPG (105629 bytes)

samurai.JPG (109552 bytes)    man1.JPG (107893 bytes)    inline.JPG (116823 bytes)

                                                                                        Hanamatsuri, part deux _



  Hey! What time is it in Japan?

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