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The Great Matsuri Festival in Japan

In addition, in every city, in every prefecturethere are own memorable dates. And if you add to this all religious holidays, rooted in Buddhism or Shintoism (the national Japanese religion), then for every month of the year you will have at least a dozen cheerful occasions to dress up and arrange a great festival of matsouri in Japan. This is the name of the holiday in Japan of any seriousness.


Matsuri to pray

What is generally considered a carnival in Europe -a festive procession or dancing, during which participants wear masks - has long been a part of Japan and the great festival of maturi in Japan has become an indispensable part of religious holidays. The Japanese carefully keep traditions, and theatrical performances designed to drive away evil spirits are known in Japan since the XII century, when they were introduced into the ritual of Buddhist worship. Then they were called "gaga-ku" and represented a procession of dancers in masks under deafening music. The obligatory part of the gagaku is the final passage of one of the actors in the "lion" costume (it was believed that only a lion can frighten evil spirits). In addition to the gagaku, another theatrical production was known, the "bugaku", whose participants dressed up in bright costumes and loudly beaten in three-meter drums. Gagaku and Bugaku are the foundation on which the classical Japanese theater arose, but the echoes of the ancient theatrical services have been preserved to this day and are carefully reproduced during religious matsuri.


Another mandatory
element of matsuri, preserved to this day, this"Mikosi" - altars, which are carried in the hands during the festive processions. It is believed that in such altars during the holiday the spirit of the deity of the temple moves, and it is carried out beyond the walls of the sanctuaries for universal worship. Mikosi is made of bamboo and paper, decorated with bells and silk cords. In addition to mikosi, in the festive procession can participate "dasi" - mobile platforms on which to place figures of sacred or mythical animals, images of heroes of Japanese history.

Musicians are traveling on the same platforms. Despite the fair weight of the dasi (they can be the size of a two-story house), they are pushed or pulled by hand. Dacia and Mycosi are used for several hundred years - as far as the strength of the material from which they are made is sufficient. Between the holidays they carefully disassemble and store in the temples. To carry mikosi or pull dasi is an honor for any Japanese man, and they readily participate in processions, dressing in special kimonos or even in some loincloths.


Today, no one
Do not take seriously the myths that causedlife, or some ritual, and not even interested in them. During the passage of Mykosi, the stewards tell more about the price or age of the altar and ornaments than about the meaning of the feast. But the ritual itself is strictly observed. For participants this is not only an excuse to have fun. In Japan, the neighborly relations are strong, so the residents are happy to use the opportunities for communication: they decorate the temple and the nearest houses with flashlights, clean the streets, which will carry the altar, and set up a mini market near the temple where they sell fried noodles and pancakes made according to special recipes.

Matsuri to rejoice

On public or secular holidaysthe Japanese are also happy to paint faces and dress up in a kimono or some special costumes - for example, the ancient samurai and geisha. If you believe the directory of the prefecture of Tokyo, only here a year is arranged for thousands of street processions, so that any resident can choose an excuse to have fun. But there are days that the entire country is celebrating. One of these common holidays - and, incidentally, the closest in time and spirit to European carnivals - Setsubun. It is celebrated in February, when the lunar calendar is followed by a symbolic change of winter for the spring.


Sacred meaning
holiday includes the idea of ​​death with the subsequentresurrection, and the embodiment of the eternal dualism of yin-yang. It is believed that at the time of the transition of nature from winter to spring, the forces of evil are especially strong, and special ceremonies should be conducted to drive them away from home and loved ones. Therefore, from antiquity to this day, the housewives throw beans around the house on Setsubun night, saying: "Devils - away, good luck - into the house!" Once beans were supposed to pick up and eat: each of the households ate as many pieces as he turned age, plus one bean - for good luck. Today one of the children dresses up as a devil, and other children have fun throwing beans at him. In temples this day, too, scatter beans - neatly wrapped in paper. But first conduct a divine service.

After the completion of the rite
several men disguise themselves as devils and run outfrom the temple, mixing with the crowd. Monks must find them and chase through the streets with cries. O-Bon, the day of the dead, is also celebrated throughout the country. It is believed that during this great festival of matsouri in Japan, ancestors visit houses where they once lived, and bless their relatives. In Buddhist temples, a special ceremony is held, a slaughter. After it people light farewell fires - okur-bi. Often, instead of a fire, they light a lantern and let it through the water. The holiday is so popular that on its days it is customary to give employees leave so that they can visit the graves of their ancestors. O-boon, despite the gloomy name, cheerful and joyful holiday. During it they dress up and give each other presents. And also a round dance is performed, in which all neighbors take part. In Tochigi Prefecture, this custom grew into a real dance festival. On the night of 5 to 6 August thousands of people dressed in a kimono dance on one of the squares of the city of Nikko.

But even more holidays are "tied" toa particular temple, city or locality. The most numerous and magnificent is Sannin Heret-zu Matsuri, or "The Feast of Thousands of Persons." He is also known as Tosegu Matsuri, by the name of the temple, where it is celebrated. In May 1617, a magnificent procession went to this temple to reburial the body of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Since then, from year to year the procession has been reproduced anew, in every detail. At the festival, you can not only watch the old rituals, but also see the real weapons, armor, musical instruments. Over time, Toseg and the great holiday of Matsuri in Japan has become a kind of folk festival: in addition to the solemn procession of "descendants of the Tokugawa house," they organize folk dances and competitions. The first day of the holiday is dedicated to the memory of the shogun. Accompanied by a procession consisting of a "courtyard" of the shogun and priests, three metal mirrors are rendered from the sanctuary of the temple, in which the souls of the three great shoguns - Minamoto Eritomo, To-iti Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu are embodied, and they are solemnly put into mi-kosi. Mikosi is transferred to the Futaarasan temple, where they will stay until the next day. And the next day begins actually "a holiday of thousands of people": the passage of a huge crowd depicting the inhabitants of Japan feudal times. In the procession involved samurai, spearmen, part of the formation of the shogun, hunters with stuffed falcons in their hands (falconry was the favorite entertainment of the nobility).


From evil spirits the procession
protect "lions" (people wearing masks of lions with longmanes) and "foxes" - according to legend, the spirit of the fox protects the temple of Toseg. Also in the crowd are twelve boys-minions, depicting zodiac animals. The culmination of the holiday is the appearance of Mikosi. No less interesting holiday can be observed in mid-July in Kyoto. Gion Matsuri is also rooted in history. In 896, the city of Kyoto was swept by an epidemic, and residents organized a collective prayer for healing. Now about a million people come to Kyoto every year to admire the pit and hoko parade. The pit is a kind of palanquins, which are carried on their shoulders by several people. And hoko - huge wagons, which are moved by hand. Their height reaches two floors.

At the very top are musicians and folkmelodies, under which participants roll hoko. On the main cart is a child, depicting the deity of the temple of Yasak. The procession consists of twenty-five pit and seven hoko. They are richly decorated - mostly for decoration use nissin cloth. At the end of the holiday fireworks are arranged. And in September in Kamakura you can look at competitions in archery. On September 16, Yabusame is held here, a ritual feast, during which the mounted archers shoot at targets. It is necessary to hit three targets and thus to ask the gods for a rich harvest and a peaceful peaceful life. Legend has it that the emperor performed this ritual first in the sixth century. He asked the gods for peace in the state and, having set three targets, struck them at full gallop. Since then, the festival has become the official annual ceremony, which was followed by all shoguns.


Because during
shooting the horse is galloping, hit the targetthe size of about fifty to fifty centimeters is not so simple. By tradition, the targets are placed at an equal distance from each other at a distance of 218 meters. All action takes place under the battle of drums. Archers accompany the archers, and all are dressed in traditional court costumes.

But to get a full picture of the splendorfeudal Japan, you need to visit Didai Matsuri, which is held in Kyoto on October 22. Its main part is a costumed procession, the participants of which are dressed in accordance with different historical periods. The name of the holiday is translated as "Feast of the Epochs". It is one of the "youngest" great Matsuri holidays in Japan, first held in 1895 to mark the 1100th anniversary of the establishment of the capital in the city of Kyoto. To the accompaniment of drums and flutes from the garden of the emperor towards the Heian temple moves a procession of two thousand people. It stretches more than two kilometers. The main decoration of the parade - a geisha-student and a woman dressed in a ceremonial kimono. It takes about five kilometers, during which the audience admire several hundred thousand spectators.

Similar historical
holidays with disguises for the year are celebratedmore than a dozen, and they are arranged, first of all, not for tourists, but for the Japanese themselves. On the one hand, this is an excuse for fun and relaxation, and on the other - during the great holiday of matsouri in Japan they do not allow to forget about what was yesterday a reality, and today it is gradually becoming history.

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