The power of “wa” found in matsuri 03
祭りで出会う、和のチカラ。 03

As people in the Edo period selected “the palanquin of Fukagawa, the float of Kanda and Sanno-sama covering wide areas”, calling Kanda matsuri, Sanno matsuri and Fukagawa matsuri the three biggest festivals of Tokyo seems correct. That is … generally speaking.

However, there are lots of different opinions about “which three are the biggest”, with a bunch of substitutes named. There are festival freaks who list another set of three festivals ? led by Sanja matsuri of Asakusa, followed by Torigoe matsuri and Shitaya matsuri. Mr. Rokusuke Ei, a parishioner of Torigoe Shrine and Asakusa-born writer known for his fervent liking for festivals, says, “People should be allowed to have their own opinions as to which ‘the three biggest Edo festivals’ are as they please. After all, each person regards the festival of his/her own shrine as the best and biggest.” Independent traits of Edo people seem to remain at the bottom of his mind.

What symbolizes the atmosphere of the Edo period is “palanquins”. The palanquin reputed to be the best in Japan and kept at the Tomioka Hachiman Shrine in Fukagawa is 4.4 meters high and weighs 4.5 tons. It is inlaid with pure gold and diamonds, and gorgeously ornamented with such items as the golden phoenix spreading its wings on the top rung and the guardian dogs with diamond eyes around the middle rung. These gorgeously-ornamented palanquins are regarded as vehicles to temporarily accommodate sacred spirits and as such, built like small shrines. Literally, they are “vehicles” for “sacred spirits” to ride. The reason why people violently shake these palanquins with the spirits aboard and sometimes bump them against other palanquins is to heighten the powers of such spirits and pray for abundant harvest or big catch. That is why palanquins should be carried with plenty of vigor.

〈KURAYAMI MATSURI: Okunitama Shrine Festival〉Fuchu, TOKYO ⓒreal Japan 'on!
〈KURAYAMI MATSURI: Okunitama Shrine Festival〉Fuchu, TOKYO ⓒreal Japan 'on!





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