Saturday, August 05, 2006

What a Time for a Festival

My Sweet’s hometown hosts a yearly grand festival, the Nebuta Festival. This is a celebration of ancient legends gathered from Japan, China and India. Heroes are celebrated for fighting in battle against evil – be it a demon or human enemy. People sacrifice themselves for their friends, deities are able to strangle monsters, and loyal animals fight along side their masters to save humankind.

People from all over the country descend on the city for eight days of parades and fireworks. Months are spent creating floats, or Nabutas, that represent a key scene from one of the legends. They are fierce, intricate, and are illuminated during the night parades. They are also not motorized. Twenty or more men maneuver the floats, making it look like the mighty warriors are jumping and ready to attack the evil around you. The Nabutas are accompanied by massive drums and battalion of pipers and symbolists. During the two-hour parade the musicians do not stop; if a drummer gets tired, there is waiting to take his or her place. As impressive as this is, the best part is the dancing. These are people overjoyed with the idea of conquered evil, and they can not help but jump and sing. They simply jump in the parade wherever they like; My Sweet says they are aptly called Jumping In Dancers. Anyone can join in the dancing as long as they are wearing traditional clothes, which include bells pinned all around the body to add to the cacophony of music.

Most of these floats are massive and sponsored by major companies. Impressive to say the least.
But there are also neighborhood or school built ones called Children’s Nabuta. They are maneuvered by kids and their dads, and also have clowns and the like running around. In fact one of the brightest moments was when a “pirate” twisted a balloon sword and gave it to a 4 year old, whose little face simply radiated joy.

Loyalty, bravery, defeated evil, and a gift from Jack Sparrow, what more do you need to jump in and celebrate?

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

1 comment:

doodah! said...

How absolutely cool! I hope you guys have been taking pictures. What a fun adventure you're having. I'm so glad you got to go!