The Lantern Lighting Festival, the largest Japan-related festival in Minnesota, takes place in Como Park every August. Modeled after summer festivals held across Japan, it features stage performances, cultural demonstrations, activities, and, of course, Japanese food. The event is reminiscent of Japan’s annual Obon holiday, an important cultural and family event. During this holiday it is said that ancestral spirits revisit their families for three days. Many people will return home to pay their respects at grave-sites, and often small paper lanterns are lit and floated down the river to guide ancestor’s spirits. The Obon Festival also features the Bon Odori, or folk dance, in which all are invited to join in the circle and dance.
The Como Park Lantern Lighting Festival incorporates traditions such as the Bon Odori with Minnesota culture to create new traditions. Every year Mu Performing Arts, featuring the Mu-Min Chorus Mu-Daiko, and Mikaharu-kai Dance Group perform the Minnesota Bon Odori, celebrating Minnesotan culture with a Japanese flair.
A collaborative effort between JASM, Como Park, and the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee (SPNSCC), the Lantern Lighting Festival is a chance for JASM to reach out to the community and directly promote cultural exchange. By creating a fun event for all ages, we hope to share the experience with people who fondly remember festivals in Japan, and those who wish to experience one for the first time.
All of JASM’s events are made possible thanks to our sponsors, members, and volunteers. If you would like to become involved, find more information on opportunities below:
Sunday, August 17, 2014 from 3:00pm to dusk at Como Park
More details for the 2014 Lantern Lighting Festival event coming soon!
The 2013 Lantern Lighting Festival Program is listed below:
- 3:00 Gates & Exhibits Open
- 3:30 Performance Begin: Kogen Taiko
- 4:00 Sansei Yonsei Kai
- 4:45 Sakura Kai
- 5:15 Thunder Wave
- 5:30 Chura-Ryukyu Okinawa Sanshinkai
- 6:00 Mu Min
- 6:30 Mikaharu Kai
- 7:00 Mu Daiko
- 7:30 Bon Odori
- 8:00 JASM Exhibits Close
- 8:15 Lantern Lighting
- 10:00 Last Shuttle Departs from Como Park
Admission: $5 per person, $3 per child (3-12) & senior (age 65+). Children 2 & under are free.
View Como Park Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival in a larger map.
JASM would like to thank all the volunteers that signed up for this event! At this time we have all of our volunteer positions filled and are grateful for the help.
Some useful documents: