Kyoto is a unique city of festivals - beautiful celebrations are carried out here almost every month. Many celebrations have a long history; a large part of them are devoted to the important religious holidays and historical events. Preparing for the next festival is an important and long-awaited event for all local residents. Citizens have always been active in the organization of cultural events; they adorn city streets and construct public scene at their own expense and consider it their direct duty. All holiday activities are taken as important cultural traditions, and therefore they are treated with such reverence and attention.
One of the most interesting events is Hollyhock, which focuses on two urban sanctuaries, Kamigamo and Simogamo. The first festival was held in the middle of the 6th century; under the Emperor’s edict locals had to bring gifts to the shrine for a deity and ask it to give a bountiful harvest. Beautiful holiday has become a tradition; nowadays it is usual to present gifts for gods during the festival. Colorful dance performances have equal importance in context of celebration.
In July Gion Festival traditionally takes place; it lasts for all month and includes a variety of cultural and recreational activities. Festive parades and concerts, children's performances and culinary contests, fairs and sporting events are held, as event program is kept by the hour. Interesting events are held in the old part of the city; in the evening some old family houses arrange a kind of open days. Everyone is welcome to visit mansions that have belonged to noble families for many centuries and enjoy the unique family heirlooms.
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