August has been a "Lantern Festival" packed month in Sasebo. Last week was the Obon Festival and just a few days ago was the 10,000 Lantern Festival in Emukae. I missed both of these festivals last year... we were out of town for the Obon festival and school started on the same day as the festival in Emukae. I have been looking forward to the month of August for the entire year so that I could see the amazing lantern festivals for myself!
|Pushing the family float to the park|
|The floats varied in size... some had to be pushed, some carried by several people, other floats only required one person to carry them.|
|This man sat and read all the prayers. His stack of prayers was quite large!|
|Gifts that were brought|
|One of the little girls playing with Liam, my friend's little boy... too cute!!|
|Lanterns ready to be purchased|
|Decorating their lantern|
Then, after the lanterns are purchased and decorated, they are passed along a small bridge that is lined with about 10 men. The lantern is passed from man to man until it reaches the end and then it is placed in the water. However, before each man accepts the lantern, he bows. This is done for every lantern!
|Passing the lanterns down the bridge to be placed in the river.|
The following week was the festival in Emukae (a town which is about 30 minutes away from Sasebo). I was looking forward to this festival not just because of the many lanterns and the huge "lantern tree" but because one of my Japanese students, Yasuko, was taking me! I knew it was going to be great, and it was! She was able to able to explain to me what all the foods were, what everything said, and even where to find the restrooms! It was great!! At the beginning, I thought this festival had 1,000 lanterns however, Yasuko quickly corrected me and told me there were 10,000 in the town! Wow! There were 3,000 in the lantern tree and 7,000 throughout the town.
|The lantern tree before the lights turned on...|
|It was huge!!|
|Yasuko and I infront of the tree! We had so much fun!!|
The tree wasn't the only sight. The town was lined with lanterns and delicious food booths!
|With Yasuko's help, I was able to try a candied miniature apple... it tasted like an apple inside of a jolly rancher. (Don't you just love the man's face behind me!!)|
|The kimono beauty pageant|
I had such a wonderful time at both of these festivals... definitely something I am going to miss when we move back to the states!!