The upcoming Giant Lantern Festival Dai-Chochin Matsuri is celebrated at the end of August every year and is often referred to as the one of the brightest and most beautiful festivals in Japan. The festival invokes traditional Japanese superstition alongside a visual display of giant lanterns and fireworks which is said to ‘light up’ Japan.
The Dai-Chochin Matsuri festival is framed by Japanese superstition and is celebrated every year to drive away evil spirits. The Japanese people also use this time to pray for a rich and plentiful harvest and calm and peaceful seas. The legend from which the festival originates, dates back over 450 years and the historic belief that evil sea demons lay in wait at the bottom of the sea bed. If these demons were provoked, they would rise up and harm the fishermen, damage the crops and ravage the fields.
The festival features enormous chochin (giant paper lanterns) which are lit to protect against evil spirits and any harmful interference with locals and their vital food sources.
The chochin have become famous for their size which measure over 5 metres in diameter and are over 10 metres tall. On the surface of the lanterns, Japanese characters and motifs are hand drawn to tell the story of the festival and the legends which make up the celebration. Once lit and released, the twelve lanterns create a stunning display which can be reportedly seen for miles. The festival truly celebrates the magic of Japanese customs and embodies some of the Japanese superstitions which are still prevalent in Japan today.
Japanese Good Luck Charms
Japanese culture and history is immersed in superstition which is prevalent in annual festivals, myths and the accumulation of Japanese good luck charms. Japanese lucky charms come in many shapes and sizes from lucky animals to smaller talismans which can be carried everywhere inside a pocket or wallet or even attached to a mobile phone.
Japanese good luck charms are hugely popular all around the world and are incredibly significant in modern Japanese culture. The lucky owl is a common symbol of Japanese superstition which traditionally protects against hardship. This ancient belief comes from the Japanese name for owl fukurou which possesses a double meaning of fortune and protection from suffering.
Lucky owls can be found in a variety of colours which represent the different types of power and luck they can provide their owner. Some key symbolic colours and their meanings are that:
- A white lucky owl brings happiness and contentment and indicates that there are positive experiences on the horizon.
- A pink lucky owl attracts love and romance for the owner and secures a loving and harmonious relationship (if you haven’t got one already).
- A black lucky owl keeps you in good health and protects against illness or injury.
- A gold lucky owl brings great wealth and fortune.
Maneki neko (lucky cats) also have a rich history and their cultural symbolism make them a great gift to keep evil spirts away and invoke the traditional superstitions of Japan. Lucky cats are commonly used as mascots to bring good luck and provide protection from evil in households, offer health and happiness to individuals, and wealth and prosperity to businesses.
For more information about lucky cats and their reputation as one of the most popular Japanese good luck charms, our informative blog post what’s so lucky about lucky cats explores their history and symbolism and why they make the perfect lucky gift.
If you want to take part in the traditional Japanese customs and learn more about the Japanese fascination with superstition, visiting the Dai-Chochin Matusri is always a great place to start. All Japanese superstitions are rooted in the history and culture of Japan and its people and many superstitions offer lessons or serve as practical advice which can inform and educate people throughout their life.
We offer a range of Japanese good luck charms, including an extensive selection of lucky cats, crystal animals and lucky owls. All our Japanese lucky charms are ideal for special occasions and events. They also great collectable items to ensure you have all the luck health wealth and happiness in all aspects of your life.