Saturday, August 10, 2013

Obon (お盆) and the Bon festival dance (盆踊り) in Japan

This year we are having summer with SO high temperature all over Japan. Today, the news said that in one part of Japan temperature got higher than 40℃(over 104 with Fahrenheit)... Unusual Smothering Heat Wave, "酷暑, kokusho" we are experiencing.

Obon (お盆) season is coming in Japan;
I wish to introduce one fun event during this season.  The Bon festival dance is held as community activity (mostly) by using the playground of school etc. The music and the dance from the video(You-tube) is the most popular one, which I can still dance without instruction. It is the old folk song sung by coal mine workers. I reminisce my mother put yukata (summer kimono) on me and dance together with her and friends.

I wish to introduce you obon in Japan by summarizing from my former obon post. My old friends, you may be already familiar with this. Please skip reading below p;) 

The Obon week in mid August (actual date is from the 13th to the 15th) is one of Japan's major holiday seasons. It is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating our ancestors, as their spirits believed to return this world in order to visit their relatives. Normally on 12th, I clean and decorate our family altar with flowers and offering (fruits, some sweets)   Renew the candles and incense. 

I wished to show an example of what the family altars look like. This one from PC(advertisement) looks rather gorgeous one and original wood color is more common).  As it is not form private family, so no "spirit tablet"; I thought it is ok to put here. Visiting graves while children must mean foster them the respects for the ancestors. I remember being taken mine by my parents, uncle and aunt together; good occasion to hear a little anecdote about our old relatives.  

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