Where to wield an um­brella

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Explore -

James Smith & Sons in Lon­don's West End is worth vis­it­ing, even if you don't need a new um­brella. Founded in 1830, the shop takes pride in its old -world, Vic­to­rian - Lon­don ap­pear­ance and sells in­tri­cately car ved um­brel­las in myr­iad shapes, sizes and colours (james-smith.co.uk). In July, join Be­h­di­enkhlam, held in the In­dian state of Megha­laya. The fes­ti­val cel­e­brates the ar­rival of the mon­soon and prays for a good har vest. Hordes of rev­ellers wield­ing colour­ful um­brel­las muster on hill­sides to dance to pipes and have a tug- of-war with a tree trunk. The tra­di­tional um­brella dance of Ja­pan is called Hi­gasa Odori. Cre­ated in the 19th cen­tur y, it sprang from Kabuki theatre and its orig­i­nal pur­pose was to en­ter­tain vis­it­ing Chi­nese am­bas­sadors. Go and see it to­day at Tokyo’s Shin­bashi En­bujo theatre (shin­bashi- en­bujo.co.jp).

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