Festival celebrates Japanese culture, with a bang
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.