Friday, May 28, 2010

Kamo Festival 賀茂祭 Treat

The Aoi Matsuri or "Hollyhock Festival," is one of the three main annual festivals held in Kyōto. This festival is also known as the Kamo festival, and is held at both the Kamigamo and Shimogamo Shrine. Held in mid-May at a time when the rice grain is just beginning to ripen, the Kamo deity is honored to insure a bountiful harvest. There are two parts to Aoi Matsuri, the procession and the shrine rites: a procession lead by an Imperial Messenger followed by oxcarts, cows, horses, and hundreds of people all dressed in traditional Heian period costumes decorated with aoi leaves (these leaves are believed to protect against natural disasters). When the procession arrives at both shrines rituals, prayers and praise are offered to deities, including Kamo, requesting their continued favor. Pictured is a traditional sweet of kanten (agar) and sweet azuki beans enjoyed during the festival purchased at the Housendo tea and sweets shop - the garden of this shop is pictured below.

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