All of our festivals have been celebrated annually for over a century, but they are all just recreations based on texts and images from the ancient civilization. The Monster Festival originally came from a foreign land as well, but we revived it with carefully added components from other traditional celebrations.
Sometimes, I wonder. Are these borrowed and fake traditions, after being celebrated for hundreds of years, now considered real?
The canoe stopped right in front of a brazier, and I was temporarily blinded after being in the dark for so long. I swayed unsteadily on my wooden clogs.
With Satoru’s help, I managed to disembark onto the dock.
Suddenly, a memory from a Summer Festival over ten years ago swam into focus. Maria and I dancing around delightedly in our new yukata.
“Our yukata match!”
“Yeah, we’re twins!”
I still remember what they looked like. Mine was blue with white dots and red goldfish, and Maria’s was white with blue dots and red goldfish.
She spun gracefully in her clogs. Her movements were so beautiful that I could only stare.
“But if we’re not careful, we’ll get caught by the monsters.”
“It’ll be okay. We can use the magic words.”
“What magic words?”
“The moms were talking about it the other day. It’s called a mantra. I’ll teach you.”
Since we didn’t have cantus yet, the world appeared full of wonder and danger. But we firmly believed that once we were grown up and had our powers, nothing in the world would frighten us.
Maria ran off ahead. As I watched her retreating figure, I suddenly felt helplessly lost, and reached out, shouting her name…