Photos and story by Reana Gibson / Contributing Writer
On Sunday, Nashville’s Cheekwood Estate and Gardens held its annual Japanese Moon Viewing Celebration.
The Japanese Moon Viewing Celebration, called “Otsukimi” in Japan, is a festival held every year to commemorate the autumn harvest moon.
“The moon has a lot of symbolism in Japanese folklore, culture and pop culture,” said one of the Cheekwood volunteers.
Cheekwood adopted the custom and began hosting its own moon-viewing festival in 2014 to commemorate its Japanese garden, Shomu-en, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan, Nashville.
The garden was named “one of the most original Japanese gardens in North America” by Kendall H. Brown in his book, “Quiet Beauty: The Japanese Gardens of North America,” and is one of the many botanical attractions Cheekwood has to offer.
The festival began at 4 p.m. with various activities for people to partake in by the hour. While some events had to be canceled due to the rain, there was still plenty to do at the festival.
An information table on various Japanese events and opportunities in Japan was set up by the entrance. A table where people could create their own haiku poems was also placed in the lobby.
The Potter Meeting Room had kamishibai storytelling, a style of Japanese storytelling which combines hand-drawn visuals and live vocal narration. The room also had tables set up for origami, calligraphy and fan-making for children and adults alike to partake in.
Outside in the garden, food-truck vendors were set up along with balloon yo-yo fishing and banzai tree displays. In the main hall, a tea ceremony demonstration took place, and vendors sold Japanese snacks from Sonobana Restaurant. At 8:30 p.m., the closing ceremony brought the festival to an end.
“Before working this event, I didn’t know much about Japanese culture,” said Kate Faulkner, who oversaw the event. “So, it’s just nice to see it in person.”
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