Kanto Matsuri

Kanto Matsuri:

Akita Kanto Festival, Important Intangible Folk Cultural asset

Akita Kanto Festival, Important Intangible Folk Cultural asset

The Kanto Matsuri, (“pole lantern festival”) is a Tanabata related celebration in Akita City, held every year from August 3 to 6 in  in hope for a good harvest.  Around two hundred bamboo poles five to twelve metres long, bearing twenty-four or forty-six lanterns, topped with gohei, and weighing up to fifty kilograms, are carried through the streets by night on the palms, foreheads, shoulders, or lower backs of the celebrants.  It is one of the main festivals in Tohoku, along with the Tanabata festival in Sendai, the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri festival, and the Hanagasa Matsuri festival in Yamagata. The Kanto Matsuri festival was designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 1980.

 

History:

This festival originated from Neburi Nagashi which was held for ridding illness and maliciousness in summer. It already existed in the Horeki Period (1751–1764), in the middle of Edo era. Yuki no huru michi (The road where it snows)” written by Soan Tsumura in 1789 is regarded as the oldest document which described Neburi Nagashi. It describes that Neburi Nagashi was held on July 6 of the lunar calendar and introduced as the original tradition of Akita. Also, Neburi Nagashi was an annual event to pray for good harvests and artistic progress.

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Celebration, skills and contest:

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