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
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
fishing season. There was also a large parade of everyone who was
up, some kids beat drums and gongs, others carried large bow and arrows,
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
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
They learned it at school as part of their club activities. Much cooler
the badminton club.
Hanamatsuri, part deux _