Tooro Nagashi - River Lantern Festival

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Do you know the Japanese festival where you put lanterns to the river floating? This festival is called Tooro Nagashi [灯籠流し] and in this article we are going to talk about this famous Japanese festival.

The word "toooo” [灯籠] means lantern and the word “nagashi” [流し] means cruise or stream. Usually the tooros are made on a styrofoam plate or peg board, bamboo, colored paper to write the name of the honoree, and candle.

In 1946, in the city of Tokyo, Japan, the Festival of Recovery (today called Tooro Nagashi) took place, where about 3,000 glowing paper lanterns were thrown into the Sumida River.

Tooro nagashi - lantern festival by the river

In Japan the most famous Tooro Nagashi is the one in Nagasaki, which takes place at the Tanabata festival.

Origin of the Tooro Nagashi Festival

The city was in economic disrepair after the Second World War, and such lanterns were launched to commemorate the souls of the dead, a way of honoring and thanking them. For 40 years the event was suspended from 1965 to 2005.

Celebrated between the 13th and 15th of August, according to Buddhist beliefs, it is marked by the return of the spirits of the ancestors to their homes to reunite with their families.

Tooro nagashi - lantern festival by the river

The Tooro Nagashi, marks the end of Obon period (a holiday similar to the day of the dead for Brazilians), it usually takes place at dusk, where families say goodbye to the souls of their ancestors with their bright lanterns with the name of the deceased written and also messages, with the purpose of illuminating their return and propagating the peace.

Unlike the days of the dead when mourning is celebrated, the Festival is usually a joyful celebration and closes the longest holiday in Japan, which includes 5 notable and world-known events starting with the Welcome Fireworks; Offer drinks, food and sweets; Tomb visits and cleaning; Bon Odori; and finally Tooro Nagashi).

Tooro Nagashi in Brazil

In Brazil, the state of São Paulo (where a large number of Japanese and descendants are concentrated), the city of Registro was a pioneer in the celebration of Tooro Nagashi, held in the first two days of November because of the Days of the Dead, in 1955. .

Tooro nagashi - lantern festival by the river

The celebration grew, and when it was structured, the Associação Cultural Nipo Brasileira de Registro – Bunkyo started to lead the organization of the event, with this, no longer restricted only to the ancestors, starting to honor the victims of accidents on the BR-116 highway.

The Tooro Nagashi ended up no longer just a Buddhist belief and became an ecumenical ritual integrating different religions and was integrated into the calendar of the city of Registro/SP.

What did you think of this festival in Japan? Ever heard of it? If you liked the article, don't forget to share and leave your comments. Finally, let's leave a video about Tooro Nagashi:

YouTube video
YouTube video

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