While many summer festivals and fireworks displays across Japan have been cancelled this year, some are adapting to the pandemic time. These innovative events are now sharing their celebrations with the world by live-streaming a scaled down version of the festivities. One such event is the stunning Aomori Nebuta Festival, which takes place in the northern port city of Aomori in Japan’s Tohoku region.
Usually held in August, the annual festival dates back to the early 18th century. The Aomori Nebuta Festival is known for its massive lantern floats known as nebuta, which parade down the streets of Aomori in a vibrant, theatrical procession.
The dramatic lanterns are inspired by kabuki plays and other mythical stories. It’s one of the most iconic traditional festivals in the country, so much so that it’s designated by the government as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
During the festival, nebuta dancers, drummers and flutists, all decked out in colourful costumes, accompany the floats as they make their way through the city streets. On the final day of the celebration, the nebuta floats are placed on boats and ferried around Aomori Bay. This is accompanied by fireworks. It’s a jaw-dropping sight to behold.
Although the festival has been cancelled this year, a downsized version of it will be streamed online for the first time ever with no spectators. Moreover, anyone can tune in from anywhere in the world.
The 2021 Aomori Nebuta Festival will be streaming live on Friday August 27 and Saturday August 28 from 6pm to 8pm JST. The show will be broadcast live from Aoi Umi Koen Park near Aomori Bay. It will feature a short but brilliant parade of ten floats, giving you a taste of the annual celebration from the comfort of your home.
After the live-stream, the recorded show will be available online for approximately six months. You can catch the live-stream here (link to go live on August 25).
For more information about the Aomori Nebuta Festival, visit here.
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