Once a year, Japanese lanterns flow down the Gull River in Minden, Ontario.
Since 2010, the township in Northern Ontario has hosted the Festival of the August Moon. Local residents and visitors paint Japanese lanterns to let them flow down a scenic river that runs through the town. It’s a celebration of Japanese culture and a celebration of the full moon.
Marc Shroetter, director and curator of the Crowne Gallery of Minden, Ontario created the event three years ago as a one-time event. Due to the overwhelming response from participants and onlookers it was brought back in 2012.
Shroetter is passionate for aviation, particularly that of his latest creation of this limited edition Avro Arrow. Looking at the Gull River in Minden he found himself inspired by how it reminded him of scenes in Japan of lanterns flowing downstream.
Participants and spectators take part in a day-long event of arts and crafts, music and culture, and in the evening walk along the banks of the river watching the lanterns flow through the town. Inspired by Toro Nagashi, which takes place in the evening of the Bon festival, organizers hope to create an Japan-inspired environment for onlookers.
Some details from the press release:
The Festival of the August Moon is a Ceremony where local participants join in the collective spirit of creativity. Through the design and creation of painted Japanese Lanterns and Kimono participants are able to experience another culture among the scenic beauty of Minden Hills. The River Walk is highlighted by the colourful lanterns that are created and displayed during the celebration of the full moon. The ceremony of the floating lanterns is based on the Japanese ceremony Toro Nagashi, which is primarily done on the last evening of the Bon festival, and is based on the belief that the lanterns guide the spirits of the departed back to the other world after visiting the family for this joyous occasion.
August is the traditional time for this event. Participants include families, social groups and individuals. A unique experience is created for both participants and spectators alike. The August full moon enhances the beauty and magic of this event making it a once in a year opportunity. Through this event people can indulge their artistic abilities and try differnt techniques and processes to enhance their self-expression, experiences and ideas in a fun and social environment. The event helps to explore the meaning of specific art objects within varied cultures, times, and places as well as their function in everyday life. Partake in the food and drink of the highlighted culture during the festival. In this case the Japanese culture.
Last year’s event drew more than 250 people to Minden, and in 2011 proceeds from this event are to be provided to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in aid for the efforts in Japan.
This will be the third time Japanese Lanterns have flowed down the Gull River. The event is to be held on August 21st from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.