東北絆祭り

Yamagata Hanagasa festival

Impressive group dancing with safflower waves

This is the festival that people hold a hat with safflower, Yamagata prefectural flower, and dance along "Hanagasa Ondo" music while shouting "Yassho, makasho" cheerfully and playing Hanagasa drums powerfully. The parade route is approx. 1.2 km (from Tokamachi to Bunshokan) in the city center, and this is led by a deity float of Zaoudaigongen. Followed by it, the magnificent parade with almost 14000 dancers wearing a beautiful costume and a safflower hat and floats sponsored by companies continues. Although there are multiple opinions for an origin of a famous Yamagata prefectural folklore song "Hanagasa Ondo", generally it is said the origin is "Dontsuki uta" song. It is believed the yell "Yassho, makasho" came from the shout in the song. The lyrics of "Hanagasa Ondo" sang for the parade was created with the public submission for the first festival. "Hanagasa Ondo" is authentically created for "Yamagata Hanagasa festival". In the lyrics, famous places along Yamagata prefectural "mother river" Mogami River are introduced. There are multiple types of dance, for instance, traditional female elegant dance held from the first festival, traditional male powerful dance, dynamic dance with a hat performance, and original unique dance. Yamagata Hanagasa festival is the summer feature in Yamagata, which attract visitors with the dance variations.

Impressive group dancing with safflower waves
Impressive group dancing with safflower waves

It's not enough to just see

To enjoy the festival fully, you can actually join it.
During the festival, an event called "Enjoy the Hanagasa festival in the daytime!" is held to introduce traditional Hanagasa Odori by Hanagasa dance team and hat performance by the Hanagasa Odori society from Yamagata university called Shimensoka, and you can experience traditional Hanagasa Odori with instructors of Hanagasa Odori dance.
You can also have an opportunity twice to experience dance in the night at the festival. Every attendee can get a Hanagasa-transforming fan at "the opening part of Hanagasa circle dance" held for approx. 30 minutes just after the parade starts. Anyone with the fan can join the festival, even a beginner, by following instructors' dance. There is also "free entry corner" led by Miss Hanagasa at the end of the parade queue. If you see the placard of free entry, join the parade and experience the festival.
You don't need to apply them before and all of them are free. Feel free to join it.

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