Mar 112012

Kamakura-yukiFebruary 15th is Kamakura Day.

In parts of Japan, snow huts are made out of snow and ice every year for the Snow Cave Festival. Most huts will seat four to five people and are lit with candles in the evening.

On the eve of the festival, children lay on tatami mats in their huts. They are kept warm by charcoal burning hibachis, eating soup, and drinking tea.

Children invite visitors inside and serve them amazake (a fermented rice drink severed warm) and mochi (rice cake). The rice cakes are shaped into cranes and turtles (symbols of longevity), and of dogs (to guard against demons). Altars built at the rear of the hut let people pray to the god of water for a good harvest, safety of their family, and protection from fire.

Mini-kamakuras are built throughout the city. Each one holds a single candle. At night the candles are lit creating a sea of snow candles glowing in the dark, bleak night.

Snow sculptures also spring up around the city.

photo courtesy of (社)横手市観光協会,

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 March 11, 2012  Posted by at 4:27 pm Celebrations Tagged with: