Guest Author - Melanie Shintaku
In Japan the season of spring, is a very busy as well as special time. The beauty of this season is celebrated, with a variety of festivals, dances and parades.
April is the beginning of school for children in Japan, it is also the time to view cherry blossoms, as well as time to shake off, all those winter doldrums.
Now starting from the month of March, here are some spring time holiday celebrations in Japan:
The month of March, heralds the anniversary, of the death of Buddha (Nehan-e) and it is celebrated on every 15th day in March.
In Japan the month of April, is the month for a lot of dance festivals, and dance is called Odori in Japanese.
The usual Odori starts with the Miyako Odori, which is a Cherry Dance, Miyako Odori is held at the Gion Kaburenjo Hall, in Kyoto Japan. The Miyako Odori, is celebrated all through the month of April, yes I really mean from the first to the last day of April.
Another dance festival for the month of April, is the "Kitano Odori" its celebrated from the 15th to the 25th of April and its held at the Kamishichigen Kaburenjo Hall.
The month of April, also affords one the opportunity, to witness the beautiful dances from the Geisha and even the Maiko too, this dance is called "Kyo Odori" and its held in the Miyagawacho Kaburenjo Hall and celebrated from the 7th to the 21st of April.
April 8th is the celebration of “Kambutsueor” which is day that commemorates the birth of Bhudda.
In Japan, April 29th was initially a holiday, to mark the passing of Emperor Showa, who died in 1989 but it later became known as Midori no Hi, which is a day to celebrate the environment as well as nature, Midori no Hi is also called Green Day.
The 5th of May, is globally recognized as Children’s Day, Japan isn’t exempt and also joins the rest of the world, to mark this special day for children.
In Japan, Children’s Day is called “Kodomo no Hi” in the past Kodomo no Hi was celebrated on separate days for the children, Tango-no-Sekku was boy’s Day and it was celebrated on the 5th of May, Hina Matsuri was girl’s Day and it ws celebrated on the 3rd of May, today Kodomo no Hi is celebrated on the same day.
Children’s Day in Japan, is a very special time for the children, and it is celebrated in a special way too, girls display would display traditional dolls that has being in the family for generations, boys also display their own warrior dolls, as well as fly streamers or carp windsocks outside.
Children’s Day in Japan isn’t complete, without a visit to the shrine and the Kamigamo shrine, hosts a traditional horse race in the Samurai way, to celebrate Children’s Day.
Also special food and treats, such as rice cakes with a sweet bean filling, wrapped in bamboo is prepared for Children’s Day.
May 15th is the celebration of “Aoi Matsuri” which is also called Hollyhock Festival,
Aoi Matsuri is one of the three biggest festivals of Kyoto, the Aoi Matsuri is held at the Kamigamo Shrine.
The Aoi Matsuri festival starts with a procession, which is quite memorable and colorful as the participants must all wear clothes from the Heian period. the procession usually starts from the Imperial Palace and ends at the Kamigamo Shrine.