Spring is in the air and so are kites. It is the most bustling time of the year at Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan as it celebrates the festival of kites also known as Hamamatsu Kite Festival, held during the Golden Week from May 3- 5.
The festival is symbolic of celebrating the birth of a child especially a baby boy and also for a healthy growth a bright future.
The kite festival has a history of 450 years which dates back to the Eiroku era year (1558-1569). The first kite was flown into the sky when Yoshihiro, the oldest son of the Prince of Hikuma castle of Hamamatsu was born. Ever since then the district of Hamamatsu celebrates the kite-flying festival also known as the ‘Boy’s festival ‘, in which they follow a custom where the names of the baby are written on the kites and flown in the sky for a better growth. In recent times, the younger son and the baby girls also partake in the festival.
The festival attracts more than 1.5 million visitors every year in the middle Tajima dune facing the rough Enshu sea and the skies are dotted with more than 100 kites that fly in glory. The fireworks are lit high up in the sky as a signal and the kite-flying battle begins which start swirling in the sky and coil up to cut the threads by friction resulting in a cloud of smoke. The excitement of the kids is palpable while making the strings and cutting their opponents’ string by friction. It is also a test of skill and perseverance for both the father and kid duo.
As the night befalls the festival will be host to the float parade famous for its spectacular sculpture works and flute bands. The palace like float illuminates the place and the young ones are seen playing the flute and drums dressed in traditional costumes.
The parade was originally held to welcome the young men returning from the kite-flying battles back then in the olden days.
So if you are planning to visit Japan anytime soon don’t miss this opportunity of experiencing the actual sensation of flying a kite high in the sky.
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