Kari Grohn's Home Page - Japan - Momijimatsuri


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Momiji Matsuri 紅葉祭り
Arashiyama, Kyoto 京都嵐山

Momiji matsuri is a special maple festival held on the Oigawa River in Arashiyama on the second Sunday of November. Performances of traditional dance are staged on boats. The Japanese appreciate cherry blossoms in spring and maple leaves in autumn. In the Heian era momijigari (hunting the autumn colour) was widely held among the aristocracy. When autumn foliage deepened the nobles enjoyed playing musical instruments on a boat. In the Edo era momijigari became popular among the common people. The word gari has meant to hunt and gather fruits and view plants since ancient times.





Shirabyoshi 白拍子

Female Shirabyoshi dancers wear male attire with an eboshi cap and sword. The profession of shirabyoshi developed in the 12th century. They would perform for nobles and high-ranking samurai and their dances were dedicated to the gods. Slow and rhythmic songs were mostly based on Buddhist prayers.