Hanamatsuri – a Japanese Festival

Hanamatsuri is a Japanese festival to celebrate Buddha’s birthday and the coming of spring. Hana in Japanese means flower and matsuri means festival, so the literal translation is flower festival.

I play basketball at Orange County Buddhist Church (OCBC) and we have a hanamatsuri every April. OCBC is one of the few Japanese culture centers in Southern California that holds a hanamatsuri. It is also a fun way to learn about Japanese culture and for Japanese -Americans to stay connected to their culture.

There are lots of enjoyable features of hanamatsuri. The food is so good and I think what makes it so good is that it is only available twice a year. They serve sata andagi or okinawan dango, which is like a fried round donut, coated with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, spam musubi, wonton, udon, yakisoba, teriyaki burger, and much more.

At hanamatsuri, there are also fun carnival games where you could win prizes. There is a basketball shooting game, an airsoft gun shooting game, and the most popular, a ping pong goldfish game. This game involves bouncing a ping pong ball to try to make in it in a little cup. The best part is the prize, a goldfish! Also, it is not am easy game to win, so winning a goldfish is highly desired among kids, but not parents.

There is also various art displays. These include ikebana, which is Japanese flower arrangement, origami, kakejiku, which is like Japanese writing and calligraphy, and samurai sword displays.

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