Matsuri in Japan means festival. These festivals usually held and sponsored by a temple, some are those festivals were held not based on religion. Japan festival is a traditional ceremony that related to certain celebration Usually, each region had at least one matsuri at the end of summer or at the beginning of autumn, sometimes related to harvest season.

Some festivals have the same history in which begin in China but those festivals are have been change dramatically suitable with the local tradition. Some of those festivals are completely different from the "origin" even have the same name and same celebration date.

We can found many stands around matsuri that sell souvenirs, food, such as takoyaki, or games. There is also karaoke contest, sumo competition, and other entertainment.

Here’re some festivals in Japan, very strange, unique but very fun :

Japan Matsuri1. Furano Heso/ Belly Button Festival

The rather curious tradition of the Hokkaido Bellybutton Dance (Heso Odori) began about thirty-five years ago and always celebrated July 28th and 29th rain or shine Furano is a beautiful city in the middle of Hokkaido Island. This yearly festival always celebrated very marry at the streets especially at the Furano downtown and all the participants drawing their stomach with picture of face and mask.

Japan MatsuriThe festival organizers came up with the idea of a dance featuring the bellybutton.
This dance was not exactly an immediate hit. Over the years, Heso Matsuri has become one of the most famous summer festivals in Hokkaido, drawing people from around Japan and the world.

Humor is a key reason for the festival's success. Dancers make their “heso” (bellybutton) into a face, using paint, special costumes, and props.

2. Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) also known as Girl’s Day

Japan MatsuriHina Matsuri is the day when Japan celebrate about health and girl’s joyful every March 3rd each year. This is the day families pray for the happiness and prosperity of their girls and to help ensure that they grow up healthy and beautiful. The celebration takes place both inside the home and at the seashore. Both parts are meant to ward off evil spirits from girls.

The most interesting part of this celebration is the presentation of "Hina Ningyo" or festival dolls that displayed until 7 level high. The topest doll is a spouse doll (emperor and empress) who just been married. Most families take out this display of dolls around mid-February and put it away immediately after Hina Matsuri is over. There is a superstition that says that families slow to put away the dolls will have trouble marrying off their daughters!

Japan Matsuri3. Kodomo no Hi / Tango no Sekku

At the beginning, this festivals named Tango No Sekku, a kind of celebration to welcome summer and celebrated on the fifth day and the fifth month (May 5th). It’s also known as the children’s day. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness.
In this festival, families raise the carp-shaped koinobori flags, each flag for a man (father or child). Chinese legend said that a carp that swims Japan Matsuriupstream becomes a strong dragon and bring luckiness.

The biggest size and had a black color is for the father, the red one is for the oldest child and the smallest one is for the younger child.

In 1948, the goverment make Kodomo no Hi as national holiday officially.

4. Setsubun

Japan MatsuriJapan, Setsubun is the day before the beginning of each season. In Japan, There are 4 setsubun each year. But now, they only celebrate setsubun between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

On Setsubun day, there is a tradition throwing a soybean to chase away ghost (oni). At Shinto temples, this “soybean tradition” also held famous guest star. At people house, the soybeans were throwed while saying a magic formula: Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi (ghost leave, livelihood come inside!)

5. Obon Festival

Japan MatsuriObon is a collection of ceremony and Japan tradition to welcome forefathers soul which celebrate around Juli 15th (lunar calendar). This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.

Generally, Obon known as a ceremony related to Japan’s Buddha, but many tradition in Obon that can’t be explain with Buddha dogma.

Japan MatsuriObon’s tradition and ritual can be different depends on the Buddha sect. and the region. Some area in Japan, especially at Kansai also known Jizōbon. It was celebrated just like Obon.
As Obon occurs in the heat of the summer, participants traditionally wear yukata, or light cotton kimonos. Many Obon celebrations include a huge carnival with rides, games, and summer festival food like watermelon.

The festival ends with Toro Nagashi or the floating of lanterns. Paper lanterns are illuminated and then floated down rivers symbolically signaling the ancestral spirits' return to the world of the dead. This ceremony usually culminates in a fireworks display.

6. Tanabata

Japan MatsuriTanabata also called star festival. This festival is originally came from chinese legend (Qi Xi). It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). They are lovers who can only meet once a year at the seventh day of the seventh lunar months (July 7th) when there is no rain and float at the Milky Way (a river made from stars that crosses the sky). The celebration is held at night, once the stars come out.

Japan MatsuriNamed Tanabata after the weaving princess from Japan legend believed that she’s the one who made clothes for Gods. Japanese citizen usually write down wishes and their lovely hopes on a colored paper and hang it on the bamboo’s twig with small ornaments.

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