Thursday, October 16, 2008

JJNN Thursday: Culture - 13

Welcome again to JJNN for Thursday October 16th, 2008. Today we will be talking about the renewal of an old Japanese festival.

Like everywhere else is the world Japan is slowly moving into the future. With this inevitable advance comes the loss of old traditions and waves of thinking. This means that a lot of the old festivals that the Japanese people used to celebrate have long ago gone to the way side and are no long celebrated. As a person that loves festivals of all different kinds, this is almost a crime.

Luckily there are people that look into these old festivals and try their best to bring them back. The latest of these festivals that has been brought back from the dead is called the Yowatari Shinji. It has been brought back after being absent for over 180 years. The festival takes place in Kyoto and involves the people that go to Kurita shrine walking in the area around their shrine at night in other to purify the area. As they walk around the area they carry around elaborate lanterns. You can see some of these lanterns below.

So, what caused the festival to come back to life? Well, in this case it was some local collage students. Some students from the Kyoto University of Arts and Design decided that they wanted to bring back the lanterns so that everyone can enjoy them. On top of that, they decided that they also wanted to design and build the lanterns.

Twenty university students got together and built 5 different giant lanterns. The lanterns measure 2 to 3 meters on a side and feature many different creatures from Japanese mythology. All of the students say they are happy to that they could bring the lanterns back to the Kyoto night-scape.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 大学(大学). It is pronounced daigaku and means university. I guess it is almost time for me to go back to university and get some more higher education.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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