Friday, December 12, 2008

Japan’s Autumn Festival Celebration in Guam

The 29th Annual Autumn Festival was celebrated at Ypao Beach Park in Guam on November 29, 2008 under the auspices of the Japan Club of Guam. I was so lucky to witness this celebration that it coincided with my trip to Guam. It’s rare that you see it anywhere else aside from Japan a big celebration as this. There were lots of people in attendance enjoying the Japanese music, dance and of course the food. It’s really oishi. It was definitely a big fun. It was Steve who took us there and treated us since he has some tickets to avail foods at the stalls. There are many Japanese tourists in the island of Guam and set this event as one of the attractions.

Matsuri is the Japanese term for festival. Autumn Festival is related to rice harvest. In this particular celebration there were raffle draws, dance presentations, singing of Okinawan and Japanese songs, and other cultural performances. The very highlight of the festivities was the procession of the mikoshi.

Mikoshi is a portable shrine that is usually carried from its location to the neighborhood. It is their belief that it serves as a vehicle of divine spirits, gods or dieties. It is also called the Shinto Shrine. This is a miniature building that comprised of pillars, walls, a roof, a veranda and a railing. It comes in shapes of rectangles, hexagons and octagons. It is lavishly decorated, with a phoenix carving on the roof and painted gold and platinum colors. This was paraded around. I also helped in carrying the mikoshi while people chant and make dances. What a great way to experience again the Japanese culture in a foreign land.

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