The gion Matsuri
Holidays Japan holidays stand out among other countries of the East their specificity and originality. This is caused by the special mentality of the Japanese people, its traditions, respect your roots. Japan is a country that combines all the good that was still in her “reclusive” century, and the best that borrowed during the last century in other countries. Regarding holidays, the country is still faithful to its beliefs and traditions, many national holidays are similar to European, they surprise with their themed and delight at the same time. An example is the gion festival, held annually in July.
It is conducted on the streets of the gion district of this ancient capital Kyoto, which is located 200 miles from the modern capital Tokyo. In Kyoto it is an ancient Shinto Shrine, Yasaka Shrine. The roots of this tradition go back to the year 869, when the capital broke out in a terrible plague. To stop this, the messenger of the Emperor went to the temple, Yasaka Shrine – the temple of the God susanoo (when the temple had another name – Giosa). By order of the Emperor before a temple was established 66 halberds – as much as it was of Japan’s provinces at the time. Residents also prayed to the gods for healing. The Emperor and the people believed that halberds have magical significance and eliminate the epidemic. Which is what happened. Since then, the gion Matsuri is celebrated by the grateful residents of Kyoto every year to this day. Celebrate it on 17 and 24 July, when a parade of carriages and stoles. Preparing for his meeting a month. The duration of the gion can be compared with the us celebration of the new year!
Without chariots and stoles impossible to imagine the holiday. So cherish them with former years, collect, restore, make new ones. Many of them are real masterpieces of art in traditional Japanese style. The diversity of forms and colors allow you to admire, and the sizes are impressive – the carts Choco more than twenty meters in length and weighing up to 12 tons. Platforms located on the frames of beams fastened by ropes. Many two-storey with characteristic roofs of Japan is the prototype of pagodas. Carts height reaches 24 meters. Musicians, guests, actors in white kimono are located on the second floor, reminiscent of an open veranda and even on the roofs. The chariot is decorated with the best fabrics – tapestries, silks, brocades, many fabrics imported from neighbouring countries – India, China, Iran and Korea, giving the region a kind of internationalism.
At the time of promotion chariots, men in white robes with large fans traditionally stand on top and scatter the people around the sacred symbolic temaki – the guarantee of health for the year . Temaki made of bamboo leaves and wrapped strands of straw inside. The hardest chariots advance over the ropes a few dozen people. Them encourages a huge number of grateful spectators annually coming to Kyoto: no less than 800,000 people. The procession is accompanied by live Japanese music performed by musicians sitting on the second floor of Choco.
Themes decoration carts-Yama (floats) are the subjects of parables, legends and stories. The palanquins have a kind of boxes, are carried on the shoulders of two or three dozen people. Their weight is 3 tons. On the roof of such a weighty rectangular structures are decorations in the form of Japanese characters epic, national doll in a red kimono or just people. By tradition in this parade there are 25 Yama floats and 7 chariots of Choco.
Always a traditional holiday main festival procession headed a wagon on which sits a little boy – a symbol of the deity of Yasaka Shrine, which according to belief of Japanese, and sent down the liberation from the plague in the year 869. A Grand spectacle! The holiday is not forgotten, but passed for over 1000 years.
Gion have been reported in other cities and towns of the country. It is noteworthy that in some places the name “gion” is preserved. The Japanese love holidays, especially love to prepare, after all, a holiday is always an occasion for fun and relaxation, the memory of what happened in the history of their ancestors. A great love of Japanese people for the holidays – balancing addition to their traditional dedicated work, after all the work the Japanese still consider it a great privilege. A truly mysterious and charming land of the Rising Sun.