The Onbashira festival is held only once every six years, (next one will be in April 2022), to metaphorically revitalize the Suwa shrines. The historic and lengthy event has been performed for over 1,200 years in Japan, and consists of two month-long components. The Yamadashi takes place in April, during which four very large tree trunks are felled by hand axes in the cemetery of a shinto shrine. They are wrapped and adorned in red and white, and then dragged by teams of men towards the Shinto shrines, who test their courage during the trial by performing “kiotoshi”: dangerously riding the logs downhill on rough inclines. The Satokibi, in May, sees these logs used as symbolic support structures. They are raised in the shrines by hand, while one man straddles the top, singing. When it is fully raised, and the man on top balanced many feet in the air, success is declared. A remarkable spectacle.
“to celebrate a festival means; to live out,
for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner,
the universal assent to the world as a whole.”
source credits: mental floss magazine
Wole Soyinka, playwright, poet and Nobel Laureate, reads an original poem written for children at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Celebrating the linguistic expression
of our common humanity
Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.
In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.
A decision to proclaim March 21 as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.
One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity. As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.
“poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”
credits: photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten, UNESCO