Photo: Brian A. Pounds
Image 1 of 5
Juliette Savarino, 5 of Westport, learns to play a traditional Japanese drum with the help of Masayo Kaneko of New York City at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival at Jesup Green in downtown Westport on Juliette Savarino, 5 of Westport, learns to play a traditional Japanese drum with the help of Masayo Kaneko of New York City at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival at Jesup Green in downtown Westport on Sunday, July 25, 2010.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds
Image 2 of 5
Junko Fisher of Queens, NY, performs on the sanshin, a Japanese lute, at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival at Jesup Green in downtown Westport on Sunday, July 25, 2010.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds
Image 3 of 5
Robot sumo wrestlers battle to push each other from a table top ring at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival at Jesup Green in downtown Westport on Sunday, July 25, 2010.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds
Image 4 of 5
Spectators sit on Jesup Green to watch the performances at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival in downtown Westport on Sunday, July 25, 2010.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds
Image 5 of 5
Performers from the traditional Japanese drumming group O-Tatsu Taiko play at the Bon Odori Japanese Summer Festival at Jesup Green in downtown Westport on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

One of the world's longest running traditions continued today at the Bon Odori festival in downtown Westport. And if you heard some rumblings, it most likely wasn't a passing thunderstorm -- it was the sound of large, banging drums.

Hosted by the Japan Society of Fairfield County, the celebratory event at Jesup Green featured O-Tatsu Taiko drummers, Japanese folk dancing and other ancient traditions that date back to the first Bon Odori in 657 A.D.

Given their size -- and the sound they make -- it was hard to miss the O-Tatsu Taiko drummers at today's festival. Taiko literally means "fat drum," and the musical instruments live up to this name as they're larger than most young children.

Bon Odori is also an opportunity to celebrate Tanabata, the star festival, by writing a wish on a tanzak (a small piece of paper), and hanging it on a long bamboo pole decorated with origami. Tanabata, meaning "seven evenings," celebrates the meeting of two stars; Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way separates these lovers and they are allowed to meet only once a year.

Outbrain