We are so fortunate to live in a state where we embrace different cultures and celebrate the unique and diverse traditions of each. Kaua’i Museum presents its 4th annual Japanese Cultural Festival on Saturday, July 7, 2012.
Maneki Neko, Good Luck Cat
The event celebrates everything Japanese and runs from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. The festival will feature exhibits both inside the museum and on the grounds outside. This family-friendly festival provides a snapshot of practices and traditions that make Japan unique to other cultures.
Some of the highlights of the Japanese Cultural Festival include:
- Demonstrations of Sumo Wrestling
- Bon Dance
- Flower Arrangement or Ikebana
- Japanese Food
The tradition of sumo wrestling dates back more than 2,000 years, however, it did not become a spectator sport until the 1600’s. It was originally associated with the Shinto religion and involved much ritual and symbolism. The objective of modern sumo is to force one’s opponent outside a marked ring.
Before the actual match begins, wrestlers lift their legs high up in the air and stomp their feet on the clay foundation of the ring. This is said to scare and ward off demons. You’ll also see sumo wrestlers throw handfuls of salt into the air before each match. This is a Shinto practice to purify the ring. The officiant also chants prayers before and after each match as another method of purification.
The art of flower arranging is called Ikebana, which literally means “living flowers.” With it roots based on Buddhism, it is a creative expression which emphasizes minimalism. Ikebana’s history dates back more than 500 years and is a spiritual as well as a physical experience, which requires complete silence when practiced.
Designed as a scalene triangle, the three points of each arrangement represent heaven, earth, and man. Unlike other types of flower arranging, Ikebana focuses on the entire flower: the blossoms, stems, as well as leaves. The container is a very important part of the arrangement as a whole. Ikebana inspires appreciation of nature and patience. It is viewed as a time to relax and connect the body, mind and soul.
Japan is known for its diverse food trends, many of which include raw foods. Some staples include steamed rice, sushi, noodles, tempura, and lots of fish and vegetables. The food is prepared in a variety of ways and highlight the freshness and individual flavors of each food item.
Since Japan is an island nation, much of the food consumed by locals comes from the sea. Many varieties of seaweed, fish, and crustaceans can be found in the waters surrounding the Japan islands.
So, bring family and friends to the 4th annual Japanese Cultural Festival at the Kaua’i Museum located on Kaua’i’s east side.
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