The Origin of the Miyazu Floating Lantern Festival and Fireworks Display

The origin of the Miyazu floating lantern festival…

The town of Miyazu was formed about 400 years ago.  At that time, the people of the town used to attach small lanterns to their offerings and float them in the ocean.  This was done to return the spirits of deceased family members back to the other world.  This custom is thought to be the origin of the festival that is celebrated today.  Soon, the event became popular and the beauty of the “mourning lanterns” (the lanterns are primarily made to mourn for lost loved ones or one`s ancestors) floating in the water attracted many spectators from all around.

Hundreds of lanterns float surrounding the “spirit boats” (Elaborately decorated boats are made by families who have lost loved ones during the current year.  These boats are floated and burned in the ocean as offerings to mourn for the souls of the newly dead), enveloping the waters of Miyazu Bay in a mystical light.  The colorful fireworks burst lighting up the night sky making the sea and sky appear as one. This festival is held at Miyazu Bay every year on August 16th as one of Japan`s three great floating lantern festivals and as Miyazu`s largest annual event.



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