Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Dutch Sundays in Japan

The Dutch word for 'Sunday' turns up in two different forms on the island of Kyushu in Western Japan. In May each year, the city of Hakata holds the extravagant Dontaku Festival. Dontaku is derived from the Dutch word for Sunday 'zondag'. According to one account, in Meiji Japan (late 19th Century), the Dutch word was appropriated for 'holiday' and then came to be applied specifically to festivals held on holidays and now survives as the name of the Hakata Festival. The term, has however, spread. There is now a wrestling event held close to or during the festival in Hakata called Resuringu Dontaku (Wrestling Dontaku). One other word to come from this rendering of 'Sunday' is 'handon'. This means 'half Sunday or half holiday' and seems in fact to refer to Saturdays in parts of Kyushu.
More recently, the town of Hirado has introduced the Hirado Zondag. This is held on every third Sunday of the month  Here, the local women dress up in Dutch clothing and tea is served free. While the use of dontaku may originate from the Dutch and indeed European custom of making Sunday a day of rest, the Hirado Zondag seems aimed at celebrating the historic link between the Dutch and Hirado, where the Dutch had a trading post from 1609-1641. In both cases, there is also at least one eye on the tourist trade.

Hakata Dontaku Festival 

Further information: http://mariontysseling.blogspot.com/2013/10/het-land-van-ooit.html

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