National festivals, also recognized as public holidays around the world, are significant days that are authorized by the government so that citizens can celebrate every year. The national festivals may last from a day to a week, depending on the history of the celebration of that particular country. Such holidays include Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day in the US, the Chinese New Year, and Yuki Matsuri in Japan.
What is Yuki Matsuri?
Yuki Matsuri also is known as the Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan. It is one of the country’s most famous festivals and is usually celebrated every year in February for seven days. The Japanese hold a week of festivities in Hokkaido’s capital, Sapporo, and also in Tsudome. The festival involves the creation of big statues from the winter snow that falls in Japan in February, in different forms such as animals, buildings, and human beings. Many people around Japan travel to the snow festival to make and witness the display of snow statues. The festival is estimated to have two million guests each year.
A History of Yuki Matsuri
The Yuki Matsuri Festival can be traced all the way back to 1950 when local high school students created snow statues in Odiri Park. Their sculptures attracted over 50,000 people within the local area because of the high-quality and engaging creations that they came up with. The high school students kept the tradition going every year during the snow season by increasing the number of snow statues built. In 1955 several soldiers were interested in joining the snow building tradition, which resulted in the creation of enormous snow statues that became famous around Japan. In later years, people would come from several areas to join the snow building festivals.
The Evolution of the Festival
Yuki Matsuri later became a famous festival and memorial in February 1966. Several Japanese were flying back to their hometowns after the snow building festival this year. The plane crashed, killing everyone on-board. The government recognized how much people valued this festival and were traveling long ways to attend the annual event. As a result, the government declared it an official festival that was going to be held every year in February for seven days. Also, during the Olympic Games in Japan in 1972, the festival gained international fame because many people around the world were able to witness the snow building throughout the festival season.
The government allows the country’s soldiers to collect enough snow to leave at the festival location when there is low availability for making the statues. The Yuki Matsuri Festival continues to become more popular because of its history, but also for how many people gather to enjoy the artistry that is being displayed on the snow statues. Furthermore, during this festive season, tourist attractions bring a lot of interested people and activities to the host cities.
The Yuki Matsuri Festival has brought Japan together. Many citizens around the country travel a long distance to attend this event in Hokkaido. They can share and learn different crafts made from snow during the winter.