Hiroshima Toro Nagashi Matsuri
Every August 6, the first atomic bombing in history is commemorated in the city of Hiroshima. In only a few minutes, hundreds of thousands of souls perished after the bomb called ‘Fat man’ was dropped. At present, every year in Hiroshima there is a great ceremony in memory of this unfortunate event.
The festival is called Toro Nagashi which literally means ‘lantern floating’. Small lamps made of paper with written messages of peace and personal desires are floated on the river by people attending the festival. A candle is installed in the lanterns and set in the river in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome to float away. At nightfall, this turns the entire area into an area of peace, union, reflection, and beauty. This is a wonderful event, which can be defined as a great peace festival, where all the people gather around the river to observe this light show while remembering what happened on August 6, 1945, and praying that the tragedy of the nuclear bomb will never happen again.
The Toro Nagashi is meant to guide the souls that remained on earth to the spiritual world. The ceremony is not exclusive to Hiroshima but is part of the holiday held in August called Obon, where it is said that the spirits return to the earthly plane to meet their loved ones once more.
Local people say that shortly after the war, the families of the ones that were lost to the atomic bombing began this tradition. This tradition has been carried out to this day and now takes place in several important rivers of Hiroshima on the night of this special day. If you want to participate, you can go to the awnings where there are notices saying that they make the lamps, a sheet of paper is given to the participant to write their message and then the volunteers cordially make the lamp. Anyone can write peace messages on the lanterns, which will be set afloat in the river, where they will pass directly in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome.
The experience of seeing the warm lights of some 10,000 lanterns as they float quietly downstream in the darkness of the night, each with peace desires from the assembled attendees, is a fantastic experience, almost from another world. Participants in this event include not only the locals of Hiroshima but also many visitors who come from all over the world.