Awa Odori : A part of Obon Matsuri

You might have heard about Obon festival. And Awa Odori is also an integrated part of Obon dance festival.

It is Tokushima's most famous attraction and the subject of national attention every August when well over a million people turn out in the streets of Tokushima city to watch or participate in this traditional festival of folk dance. Major thoroughfares are cordoned off and spectator stands are set up at various points for specific dance competitions during this festival.

Around the river areas numerous street food stalls known as yatai appear, and the entire downtown area of Tokushima takes on the air of a lively outdoor festival, drawing comparisons with the carnival in Rio de Janeiro. In Japan, summertime is the season of buzzing cicadas, brilliant fireworks, and raucous street festivals. Awa Odori is one of the biggest street festivals that takes place during the summer. Awa Odori originated from a massive celebration held in the 16th century, many people believe that. During the 17th century, Tokushima suggests that Obon dancing was something of a public disturbance there, and this may have been the direct forerunner to the modern-day Awa Odori dance. Awa Odori was never formally referred to by that specific name until the 20th century, whatever the origin when the local Tokushima government began promoting the dance as a tourist attraction for the region.

Tokushima today, hosts the largest Awa Odori festival in Japan every year in mid-August, with the second-largest festival taking place at the end of August in the Koenji district of Tokyo. there are a few different theories about how the Awa-Odori dance party got its start, As it is with many of Japan's older traditions, and all of them might have a bit of truth to them. Dates back to the dances of Buddhist priests, the first element, particularly one known as Kuya, a priest who lived during the 10th century. Decade after decade and century after century until the indigo industry the parties kept going, Tokushima's main business and the trade that helped to support the yearly summer dance party, started to lose out to cheaper means of dyeing clothes around the turn of the 20th century. The celebration as we know it now got its start when boosters of Tokushima's tourism industry revived the festival, calling it the Awa-Odori for the first time, after a few decades.

One of the representative dances of Japan the dance has become and is being introduced around the world as the Awa Dance. People often gather in groups called ren, with other members of their workplace, school, or other organization, when dancing the Awa odori. Usually, the ren contains around 50 people, although some may have as many as 200 people. Men and women wear different costumes and also dance in different styles in the Awa Odori. Men wear a happi, light and loose-fitting cotton coat, and perform a stronger, more dynamic dance, while Women wear a yukata, a summer kimono made of light cotton, and amigasa, a hat made of woven rush grass, and dance in a more stylish way.