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Semboku Paper Balloon Festival for good fortune and success

Nalynn Dolan Caine ▼ | February 5, 2020
Japan celebrates the lunar new year and Semboku City in Semboku City celebrates it in its own special way with paper balloons.
Semboku Paper Balloon Festival
Spectacle in Japan   Some will ask for good health, some for good grades
History is not so clear but it is believed that since the Edo period the Paper Balloon Festival is held to coincide with the lunar new year celebrations.

The Semboku area is surrounded by mountains and people have had to be more self reliant for their subsistence. They originally sent the paper balloons into the sky for the gods with messages written on them, wishing for bountiful rice harvests.

Since 1974, because the event wasn't held since the World War II, the paper festival is held again and balloons have different messages written on them, from businesses promoting themselves to good wishes. Some will ask for good health, some for good grades in the school, but everyone will ask for good future in this colorful event.

Before the festival, and after if you want, you can enjoy local meals and drinks in tents on the edge of the park area. And then the fun begins.

First big colourful balloons from 3 to 12 meters in height are sent into the air and then smaller balloons around 50 to 80 centimeters high follow them. All balloons have one thing in common: they are all handmade with paper and they are made with the help of local people.

The initial blowing up of the balloons is done using large gas torches and for the flight itself they will attach a cloth soaked in kerosene at the base of the balloon to keep them airborne. Nobody seemed to know what happens after they lift up so we guess gods take them and read all your wishes.

Where: Kamihinokinai, Semboku, Japan

When: February 10th 2020, 6:00pm to 8:30pm