It is really cold this winter and I was concerned about how cold it would be for the four boys who did the purification ceremony.
In the photo above you see the four half naked boys(they are called "gyoshusha" which means trainees) are going ahead to the beach to purify the icons of deity in the sea. According to the announce, it was 8 degrees celsius below zero at 9:00 in the morning and the temperature of the sea water was 2 degrees. Later an article of the local paper said it was minus 4.4 degrees at the time of the boys went to the sea. Please enlarge the photo below and see the four while dots in the sea. They are boys' heads. Noooh, I can't believe it!
The last photo shows that the boys who purified the icons comes back to the shore and purify themselves again in front of the spectators on the temporally set up stage.
After purifying themselves, one boy sprinkled water to the spectators though the water was a little. If you are sprinkled the purifying water, it is said that your wish for the year will be realized.
How great the four young boys! It was really impressive!
Why people in Hakodate celebrate obon in July? One reason results from a fact that Meiji government started to use the solar calendar in 1873 instead of the lunar calendar.
If obon falls in August, it would be the time of Hakodate Hachimangu Shinto Shrine's annual Summer Festival which falls on Agusut 15th. It would be busy (for most of Hakodate citizens who want to attend the festival? I'm not totally sure.) So monks who held their danka(Buddhist parishioners ) families gathered and decided "Let's celebrate obon in July in Hakodate!"
Now, I'd like to show you how to celebrate obon actually. Obon is a day when our ancestors' departed souls come home, so we decorate Buddhist family altar more than usual and prepare sekihan(red rice which is prepared on auspicious occasions.) and other dishes and show our delight saying "welcome home!!" Usually we visit our ancestors' graves, too.
Everything we are today, we owe our ancestors, don't we? Yesterday I visited my grandmother's and said hello to my ancestors offering incense to our family altar. Also I took a box of sweets as an offering.
This spectacular dash-up can be seen at 17:00 on 15th of August. This event is biannual so if you lose tomorrow, you have to wait until 2010.
The portable shrine will leave the Hachimangu Shrine at 11:00 and it is carried to JR Hakodate Station and then, returned to the Shrine.
To get to Hakodate Hachimangu Shrine, please refer to the following past entry.
An entry of the 2007's annual festival
Today, it is really fine day and this evening, from Jujigai intersection through Matsukaze-cho Streetcar Stop, a festival parade is held. How about go and see and if you like how about joining the parade? Ika-odori, or squid dance is easy to learn and it's no problem to join the dance.
After the parade, you can visit temporal festival stalls set up in Daimon area. You can reach to there in five-minute walk from JR Hakodate Station. Just walk toward Matsukaze-cho direction walking around the streetcar street.
Enjoy the summer festival time in Hakodate!
Goryokaku pageant which will take place at Goryokaku Park, a national special historic site, is being held this year too. This year sees the 16th times. It is said that the pageant was totally revised a few years ago, but after the revision, I've not seen the revised one. So this year I'm looking forward to seeing it.
Before the revision, I saw the pageant once and I participated it as a cast twice in a couple of years, 5 or 6 years ago, I believe. Both seeing and acting on the stage were extremely interesting.
Once there was a rumor that the pageant would be given up, but I hope this pageant will be supported and loved by citizens and add attraction to summer in Hakodate.
For more information about the pageant in English, click here.
More information in Japanese, click below.