The Gion Festival is among the most famous festivals in Japan. It is also referred to as the Festival of Yasaka Shrine. The month-long festival is usually held in July every year and runs from the 1st to the 31st. The main event is held on the 17th of July and a second procession takes place on the 24th but with smaller and fewer floats. The Gion Festival was originally held as a prayer festival to ask for deliverance from the plague but has since evolved to be a celebration of the rich culture of Kyoto.
Economic aspects of the Gion Festival
The events involve a spectacular grand procession of floats where more than 30 floats are paraded through the streets of Kyoto. Organizing the two processions costs about 5 million in US dollars (the amount fluctuates slightly from year to year) and it rakes in about twice that sum from ticket purchases from visitors, participation, and accommodation. It is a revenue booster for Japan entirely driven by culture. The budget goes into;
· creating and parading the floats (every float is of a different design); this uses up to half the budget
· contracting dancers, cultural performers and making cultural apparels for the occasion
· the logistic of the processions such as clearing traffic and directing floats
· maintaining the floats, there are bound to be damages here and there
These processions broadcast the economic might of the city and the wealth of its inhabitants. The grandeur displays manage to attract many visitors to take part in the parades and dances and purchase commodities; further enriching the city.
The festival is important to the tourism industry of Japan and has been a cultural phenomenon for hundreds of centuries. Its existence is rooted in Japanese cultural and religious practices that date back to thousands of years. The Festival attracts several people from different parts of the world to understand and take part in the Japanese culture.
Similar Events Around the World
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The Gion Matsuri Festival can be compared to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a major cultural event in the United States. They as so popular that they manage to attract thousands of young people who love outdoor parties and parades. Both the Gion Matsuri and Coachella Festival cost almost the same amount of money in organizing them and generate up to twice as much revenue. They are therefore of great economic importance to their respective countries.
Crop Over Festival- Barbados
Another festival that is similar to the Gion Festival is the Crop Over Festival held in Barbados every year and which features music and dance. The festival culminates in people wearing colorful costumes and taking part in a street parade. The annual Rio and Trinidad Festivals are also in the same category in spending as the Gion Matsuri Festival.
The Festival shows the nationality
The Japanese culture is an intimate part of the Japanese people. Attending festivals such as Gion in Kyoto is one of the best ways to understand the Japanese people, their food and their way of life.