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Cultural Festivals Garden Updates

The Year Ahead: Welcoming Back In-Person Events

As we cautiously move into this new year, cultural demonstrations and festival celebrations will be returning. We were excited to reopen the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner, and are looking forward to bringing our members and visitors more performances and demonstrations of Japanese music, art, craft, and more in 2022.

Hina Matsuri / Doll’s Day (March)

Doll’s Day in 2018. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

The Doll Festival is a special time to pray for the growth and happiness of girls. It is also called Momo-no-Sekku, or ‘Peach Blossom Festival.’ Visitors can enjoy a display of delicate dolls representing Imperial Court figures, traditional for girls’ families to display in their homes at this time of year.

Kodomo no Hi / Children’s Day (May)

Children’s Day being celebrated in 2019. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

Children’s Day is observed in Japan as a day to honor all children in the hopes that they will grow up healthy and strong. Cloth carp streamers, or koinobori, are flown to bring good fortune to children. Koi symbolize courage and determination as they swim upstream and through powerful waterfalls.

Tanabata / The Star Festival (July)

Tanabata decorations outside the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. Photo by Tyler Quinn.

The Star Festival features a colorful display of tanzaku, or wish strips, hanging from bamboo in the Garden’s Bamboo Allee. This tradition of writing wishes or prayers comes from the Edo period, when children were encouraged to practice their writing and hang them from bamboo for all to see.

O-Bon / The Spirit Festival (August)

O-Bon being celebrated in 2019. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

O-Bon, the Spirit Festival, is an important Buddhist festival to honor ancestors and pray for the souls of the departed. The souls of the ancestors are believed to return to this world from beyond. The Garden’s O-Bon event features chanting, name reading, and the quiet reverence of toronagashi (lantern floating). This event is reserved for our members only.

O-Tsukimi / Moonviewing (September)

Bright moon rises over the hills behind a lit-city and forest foreground
O-Tsukimi, the Moonviewing Festival in 2018. Photo by Jonathan Ley.

Moonviewing is one of our most beloved annual festivals honoring the harvest moon. During Moonviewing, people gather to appreciate the moon’s beauty and pray for good fortune and an abundant harvest. Garden guests can enjoy the moonrise accompanied by shakuhachi and koto performances.

Returning Cultural Demonstrations

Koto music being performed. Photo by Aaron Lee.

We look forward to hosting Cultural Demonstrations on most Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Cathy Rudd Cultural Corner. Additional demonstrations will be added throughout the year or schedule changes may occur. We will always include updates for these details on our website, in upcoming issues of The Garden Path, and in our e-newsletters.