Friday, July 13, 2012

Japanese Lantern Festival

            Last night I attended the Japanese Lantern Festival held every year in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. I arrived at the cemetery shortly before the festivities started, and wandered in through a long path lit by torches.  Many people had already arrived and were sitting on picnic blankets by the edge of the pond in the center of the cemetery. 

Lantern frames and rice paper were being sold, and Japanese women in traditional clothing were painting Japanese characters on rice paper for festival participants. 

There were also performers- this man who was an 11th generation martial arts-drumming-master (or something like that) had such a long introduction, which mentioned so many times that he was 11th generation, that somehow I forgot everything they said about him, except the 11th generation thing. The performance was cool though, he had students who performed martial arts and rhythmic drumming.

 There was a young girl in the audience who was dancing to the drumming. She really had rhythm, it was fun to watch!

It was also interesting to read what some people had written on their lanterns. While most of the Japanese characters that were painted said things like "Love" and "Peace," participants could also decorate their own lanterns with whatever they want. I saw many with people's names on them, perhaps lost loved ones, and some with drawings children made.

 There were a lot of families with small children at the event. Really there were people of all ages!
 And what Japanese festival is complete without a bagpiper in traditional Scottish garb?

 As it got darker, the lanterns looked so lovely dotting the water of the pond.
My friend Misaki and  I had a really nice time.

So, have you guys attended any interesting festivals this summer? Have you ever been to a Japanese Lantern Festival?

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