Sunday, October 25, 2015

Carpe Diem #845 Niihama Taiko Festival

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I promised you earlier that I would announce our kukai winner, but during lack of time I haven't had the possibility to look at all of your votes. My apologies for that inconvenience I hope to publish the results later this week.

Today I have a wonderful festival to share, at least in my opinion, because I am a big fan of the Taiko (a kind of Japanese drum). Today we will visit the Niihama Taiko Festival. Let me tell you a little bit more about this festival.

Each year, from October 16th to 18th, the city of Niihama in Ehime Prefecture holds the Niihama Taiko Matsuri (drum festival) to give thanks for an abundant autumn harvest. Forty-seven floats, called taiko-dai, are paraded through the five districts of Niihama in a festival dating back 300 years. During the three days of the festival, the streets of Niihama fill with over 350,000 visitors to watch this annual event. Each 17 foot high, 36 foot long taiko-dai is a 2.5-ton float. About 150 men bear each heavy taiko-dai on their shoulders through the streets of Niihama in a competition for the best carrying style. In the middle of each float is a large taiko drum that gives the float its name. The drum is beat rhythmically throughout the night to urge on the float bearers who are dressed in the uniforms of Edo era firemen. (The Edo era lasted from 1600 to 1868.) Each taiko-dai float is elaborately embroidered with expensive gold and silver thread with designs such as dragons, wild birds, famous buildings, or characters from legend. The design of each taiko-dai is chosen by the Niihama neighborhood that sponsored the float and construction can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many neighborhoods chose designs that adorn the float with dozens of paper lanterns. You can see a video clip of the Niihama festival at night with its thousands of glowing lanterns on the bouncing and spinning taiko-dai hereafter.

Wow ... what a wonderful festival don't you think so too. It's similar with e.g. Thanksgiving everywhere around the globe, but this Japanese Festival is really stunning.

I remembered a haiku which I wrote in spring 2014 as we were on a pilgrimage along the 88 temples on the island Shikoku. I love to share that haiku here again:

Japanese drums
resonate through the spring-night -
evil spirits flee

evil spirits flee
as prayers for compassion
resonate through the night

©  Chèvrefeuille

Or what do you think of this haiku written in November 2013:

Taiko drummers
in the midst of the night
chasing ghosts

chasing ghosts
with their strong drumming sound
Taiko drummers

© Chèvrefeuille

And this one which wrote recently:

parade of floats
under the blooming cherry trees
sound of Taiko drums

© Chèvrefeuille

the sound of taiko
makes me excited
what a joy

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and it will remain open until October 28th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, a new CD Special, later on. For now ... have fun!

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I loved this one! Completely new info for me. How exciting with the drummers :)