Sunday, March 9, 2008

Nagashi-Bina Doll Festival & Kagura Performance!

Nagashi-bina doll festival is a Japanese traditional event to wash away the spirit of misfortune and to wish for their children health and happiness by floating Nagashi-bina dolls on the river.Hinamatsuri Song:
Akari o tsukemashou bonbori ni明かりをつけましょう ぼんぼりにOhana o agemashou momo no hanaお花をあげましょう 桃の花Go-nin bayashi no fue taiko五人ばやしの 笛太鼓Kyo wa tanoshii Hinamatsuri今日は楽しいひな祭り

Let's light the lanterns. Let's set peach flowers. Five court musicians are playing flutes and drums. Today is a joyful Dolls' Festival!

Today we were invited, by my friend Eiko, to the Nagashi-bina doll festival. Two other women from the Iwakuni base also came with their children. When we arrived the first thing we did was to make our dolls. We dressed our Nagashi-Bina dolls in beautiful papers, painted their faces and placed them in a raft surrounded by fresh flowers. The one below is mine. We also wrote in hiragana on our boards.
Shelby, Kyoko & Tiffany holding their finished rafts Some of the finished rafts floating on the river. After all the rafts are placed in the water a few men will wade in the river and pull them out with a long bamboo stick with a hook on the end.

This river is right across the street from my friend Eiko's house. The area is so beautiful!
On the festival grounds, they were selling udon noodle and rice ball for lunch. The kids loved the free cotton candy! The large white tent is where everyone crafted their rafts.

Lilly missed the Hina doll festival but she was coming to the Kagura performance so Eiko made her a raft. When she went to dress the dolls for her, there wasn't any more beautiful papers left so she made hers out of an advertisement for different types of sushi! So cute and so creative!

Everyone took turns and knelt down on the pier and gently placed the rafts in the river.

Afterwards, you bow your head and say a prayer. There were a lot of photographers there taking pictures for the local papers. I hope I can get some copies of our pictures they had taken.
It is getting a little warmer the trees are starting to bloom!
Eiko took us out into her neighborhood and some of the families had their Hina doll collections on display for people to view. They would let us come in to their houses to take a look. This picture is of the biggest Hina doll collection I saw today. Very impressive!

We also stopped by the temple. Many steps to the top of where the temple was!
This picture was taken from the temple looking out over Eiko's neighborhood.
Shelby & Kyoko- Sweet Friends!
After the temple we met Lilly and went to the Kagura show at Kono Elementary school.

Kagura is a dance that has been performed on the main island of Japan, since ancient times. Eiko tells me it is a dance to "Thank the Gods for a bountiful harvest." The play is fast, full of singing and dancing, and is very exciting to see! I thought for a moment, as it started, how it looked very similar to American Indian dancing. The costumes were gorgeous and very colorful. Some of the Kagura performers, at one part of the show, ran down into the audience. It was quite surprising! The three musicians made up the core of the live music. The drummer on the right played a drum that is called, 太鼓"Taiko." One of my favorite things here in Japan.

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