This summer we’ve been taking a closer look at summer traditions throughout the world. We’ve seen that Yankees are busy grilling hot dogs and waving their American flags while the French have their own independence celebrations which include parades filled with colorful flags, patriotic bunting, and pennant strings strewn across balconies.
Today we take a look at several summer traditions in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.
Just like many other parts of the world, fireworks play a special role in lighting up the night sky during summer festivals in Japan. While smaller sparklers are popular amongst children and adults alike, the larger shows, referred to as Hanabi are the central focus of many festivals’ evenings.
Beer gardens have grown in popularity throughout the world, but in Japan especially these havens of beer have exploded in popularity. Typcially found outside, on rooftops, and in particular on department store rooftops local cuisine and craft beers are distributed alongside each other. No matter where you are in the world, enjoying company in a beer garden on a hot summer evening will always cool things off a little bit.
Break the Watermelon
Similar to Western traditions of breaking a piñata at a children’s birthday party, break the watermelon is exactly what it sounds like. A person is willfully blindfolded, given a tool with which to smack a watermelon, and then make an attempt at crushing a stationary watermelon. While this sounds easy enough, it can indeed be tricky, eventually though it will break and watermelon can be enjoyed by all.
Once again, this tradition is not limited solely to the Japanese culture; however, it does play an important role in many summer evenings. Cicadas in particular are a large part of summer culture in Japan, children, teenagers, and adults alike take part in the enjoyment of this age old tradition by capturing helpless bugs in jars and poking holes in the tops of the jars.
Japan has a culture that has been around for centuries, so many of their festivals are celebrated through the use of various traditional Japanese clothing such as kimonos and yukata as well as through traditional hair and makeup styles. The most popular among these festivals is the Bon Festival, a Budhist custom which honors ones ancestors.