Monday, August 23, 2010


Last year we went to the Nebuta parade, in Aomori City, during the day. This year we wanted to see how amazing they would look in the dark, lit up. They were amazing. The people are so energetic and happy. Despite it being so crowded everyone seems to enjoy it. The boys were all dressed in their festival Jimbae.

Em took a little girl for her mom since she was struggling to see over us and 3 other rows. We were with the Balls at a street corner. At each corner they stop the floats and then quickly spin them around.
 Nebuta is our favorite festival! (Too bad it was blisteringly hot.)

There are many theories about the origin of the Nebuta Festival. One is that it originated with the subjugation of rebels in the Aomori district by "General TAMURAMARO" in the early 800's. He had his army create large creatures, called "Nebuta", to frighten the enemy. Another theory is that the Nebuta Festival was a development of the "TANABATA" festival in China. One of the customs during this festival was "TORO" floating. A "TORO" is a wooden frame box wrapped with Japanese paper. The Japanese light a candle inside the "TORO" and put it out to float on the river or the sea. The purpose for doing this is to purify themselves and send the evil spirits out to sea. "TORO" floating is still one of the most impressive and beautiful sights during the summer nights of the Japanese festivals. On the final night, "TORO" floating is accompanied by a large display of colorful fireworks. This is said to be the origin of the Nebuta Festival. Gradually these floats grew in size, as did the festivities, until they are the large size they are now. Today the Nebuta floats are made of a wood base, carefully covered with this same Japanese paper, beautifully colored, and lighted from the inside with hundreds of light bulbs. In early August the colorful floats are pulled through the streets accompanied by people dancing in native Nebuta costumes, playing tunes on flutes and drums. Many Aomori citizens are involved in the building of these beautiful floats. The Nebuta designers create their designs patterned after historical people or themes. They begin developing themes immediately after the previous year's festivities come to a close. Consequently, it takes the entire year, first in the development, then in the construction of the Nebuta float.

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