Lanterns on the river in Hiroshima, Japan during the Toro Nagashi festival

Hiroshima Toro Nagashi Matsuri Festival

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Every August 6th, the first atomic bombing in history is commemorated in the city of Hiroshima. In only a few minutes, many souls perished after the bomb called ‘Fat man’ was dropped. At present, every year in Hiroshima there is a great ceremony in memory of this unfortunate event. This festival is called Toro Nagashi matsuri and is also known as the lantern festival.

Floating Lanterns

The festival is called Toro Nagashi which literally means ‘lantern floating’. Small lamps made of paper with written messages of peace and personal desires are floated on the river. Anyone attending the festival can do this. A candle is installed in the lanterns and set in the river in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome to float away.

At nightfall, this turns the entire area into an area of ​​peace, union, reflection, and beauty. This is a wonderful event, which can be defined as a great peace festival. All the people gather around the river to observe this light show while remembering what happened on August 6, 1945. They all pray that the tragedy of the nuclear bomb will never happen again.

The Toro Nagashi is meant to guide the souls that remained on earth to the spiritual world. The ceremony is not exclusive to Hiroshima but is part of the holiday held in August called Obon. This is said to be the time that the spirits return to the earthly plane to meet their loved ones once more.

Toro Nagashi Matsuri Festival Origin

Local people say that shortly after the war, the families of the ones that were lost to the atomic bombing began this tradition. This tradition has been carried out to this day and now takes place in several important rivers of Hiroshima on the night of this special day.

If you want to participate, you can go to the awnings where there are notices saying that they make the lamps. A sheet of paper is given to the participant to write their message and then the volunteers cordially make the lamp. Anyone can write peace messages on the lanterns, which will be set afloat in the river. They will pass directly in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.

The experience of seeing the warm lights of some 10,000 lanterns as they float quietly downstream in the darkness of the night. Each with peace desires from the assembled attendees, is a fantastic experience, almost from another world. Participants in this event include not only the locals of Hiroshima but also many visitors who come from all over the world.

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