Saturday, May 05, 2007

297. Festival!

Every year from May 3-5 our town holds its annual Kite Festival which attracts more than a million visitors from all over Japan and abroad. The modern festival is in its 172nd year but the actual origins of the event go back to the 1440s when one of the ancient lords of the region celebrated the birth of a son and heir by rushing out to the beach and flying a kite. Now thousands do the same, and many of the kites are paid for by families who have celebrated the birth of a first child in the preceding year. In recent years the festival has taken on a more cosmopolitan atmosphere by the introduction of an International Food Fair in the centre of the city.

Care for an Egyptian kebab ...

... a Thai curry ...

... or some Turkish ice cream?

In the evening the local kite teams return to their home districts for a bit of a rally at the local shrine ... followed by a rousing parade through the neighbourhood with trumpets and drums and banners flying!

Here we go, here we go, here we go ...!

For a complete set of photos, go to this web album!