Hakata Dontaku

Hakata Dontaku

May 3-4
The largest festival in Japan, Hakata Dontaku is held in Fukuoka City (Fukuoka Prefecture) during Golden Week, the first week in May. This festival attracts more than two million spectators every year because Golden Week is a national holiday encompassing Children's Day ( see Kodomo-no-Hi), Greenery Day, Japanese National Foundation Day and Japan Constitution Memorial Day.
The festival originated in the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) as a procession of the merchants of Hakata, an old section of Fukuoka City, paying their new year visit to the daimyo, or feudal lord. The name of the holiday curiously is thought to have derived from the Dutch word Zondag, meaning "Sunday," which was broadened to mean "holiday," and corrupted into Dontaku .
The festival highlight is a three-hour parade with legendary gods on horseback, floats, and musicians playing samisens (a three-stringed instrument similar to a guitar), flutes, and drums.
CONTACTS:
Japan Information Network, Japan Center for Intercultural Communications
2-7-7 Hirakawacho
Chiyodaku
Tokyo, 102-0093 Japan
81-3-3263-5041; fax: 81-3-3230-4107
home.jcic.or.jp
SOURCES:
JapanFest-1965, p. 147
References in periodicals archive ?
The Hakata Dontaku Port Festival in Fukuoka had the largest turnout at 1.
Meeting in Miyazaki city, the officials agreed that Fukuoka Prefecture will ask people from G-8 countries as well as Okinawa and Miyazaki prefectures to participate in the annual Hakata Dontaku festival parade in Fukuoka city in May, to give it an international atmosphere.
Of the resorts nationwide that police will be watching due to the expected large turnout, the Hakata Dontaku Port Festival in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan, is likely to attract the largest number of tourists at 2.