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Nebuta Festival
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Bon Festival
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Nebuta Festival
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Bon Festival
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From late July to late August, fireworks displays are held in various parts of the country. This is a tradition that goes back several centuries in Japan. Watching the burst of colours against the night akies can make Japan's hot and humid summers seem more tolerable.

Fireworks were brought over to Japan by Portuguese sailors in the 16th century. During the Edo-period (1600-1868), craftsmen such as those in Okazaki specializing in making fireworks appeared (even today, around 70% of Japan's fireworks are made in Okazaki), and fireworks displays became a common summertime treat.

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/august/hanabi.html)

Nebuta Festival

Nebuta Festival
The Nebuta festival takes place from the 2nd to the 7th of August, in the city of Aomori. It used to be part of the Tanabata festival, which was traditionally held on the seventh day of the seventh month on the old Japanese calendar.

This festival features a parade of huge lanterns in the shape of samurai warriors. The lanterns are made with wooden or banboo frames and are covered with brightly coloured paper. Most of the warriors depicted are historically famous generals or characters from well-known kabuki plays.

The sizes of these lanterns vary from those carried by children to those measuring as high as 8 metres and as wide as 15 metres. These lanterns are placed on floats that are pulled by anywhere from 4 to 50 people. Around each float hundreds of dancers known as haneto, parade around town to the accompaniment of flutes and drums and chants of "asse-ra, rasse-ra".

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/august/nebuta.html)

Anniversaries of the Dropping of the Atomic Bombs in World War II

On the morning of the 6th of August, 1945, two US B-29 bombers appeared in the skies above Hiroshima City. One of them dropped a small parachute; and attached to it was the atomic bomb that took the lives of 200,000 people and decimated the entire city.

3 days later, on the morning of the 9th, another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki City, located at the northwestern tip of Kyushu. This time the bomb left a third of the city in ashes and took 120,000 lives.

Today, the epicentres of both blasts have been turned into Peace Memorial Parks. Each year on the 6th and 9th of August, a ceremony is held in each park for the victims and to pray for peace.

On the 15th of August, 1945, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration by the Allied Powers, thereby surrendering unconditionally.

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/august/kinenbi.html)

Bon Festival

Bon Festival
The Bon festival is held to pray for the repose of one's ancestors. Along with the New Year, it is one of the biggest traditional events in the year. In the past, it was held in the middle of the seventh month on Japan's traditional calendar. For this reason, some regions celebrate in mid-July, despite the fact that the old date is closer to mid-August.

Ancesters are believed to revisit the homestead to be reunited with their family during Bon. In order to guide these souls back, a small bonfire is lit outside the house. This is called the mukae-bi (welcoming flame).

The biggest event of the Bon festival is the Bon odori (Bon dance). One of the most famous ones is the Awa odori of Tokushima. People usually go to dance in their neighbourhood's park or shrines.

(Source - http://jin.jcic.or.jp/kidsweb/calendar/august/bon.html)

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