The Lantern Festival, or the Kanto Festival (竿燈祭）(Kanto-matsuri) , is held on August 3-6 in Akita City. It has a long history associated with prayers for a bountiful harvest of rice.
The shape of the whole Kanto can be compared to that of the ear of rice, all together 46 lanterns, imitating the straw bags of rice, swing at the slightest move, in the form of an abundanat crop of rice.
The highlight of this festival is a parade of stout young men in colorful attire skillfully balancing "kanto" on their shoulders, foreheads, hips and chins without their hands. They compete with each other to demonstrate skillful balancing techniques to the accompaniment of fast-beating drums and high-pitched flutes.
Waves of prayers
lighted up ―
Kanto ya minori o inoru kogane nami
Kanto ya myougi ni hikaru sasite shuu
― Hidenori Hiruta