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Obon Pageant is an annual Japanese ritual noticed from the thirteenth to the fifteenth of the seventh lunar month. This yr, the vacation can be celebrated from August 13 to fifteen. It may also be held from July 13 to fifteen, relying on the calendar used. Obon is just like Mexico’s Day of the Lifeless and China’s Hungry Ghost Pageant. Through the three-day festivities, the Japanese welcome the spirits of their lifeless ancestors and rekindle their connections. Though it’s a competition cherishing demise, Obon is extra enjoyable than creepy. Folks interact in enjoyable actions, people dance, and music occasions. They go to and clear the graves of the ancestors, gentle ‘chochin’ lanterns, and eat conventional dishes.

Historical past of Obon Pageant

Obon is a 500-year-old Buddhist customized noticed to honor one’s ancestors. It’s generally known as the competition of souls. It’s believed that spirits descend to earth to reunite with their residing household. There’s a legend related to the historical past of Obon. A Buddhist monk named Mogallana, who might see into the afterlife, prevented his lifeless mom from going to hell by making choices to different monks. Having attained redemption on behalf of his mom, Mogallana began dancing in pleasure and the others joined him forming a giant circle. This dance kind got here to be often called the Bon Odori dance.

Though Obon has some parallels with Halloween, it doesn’t intend to chase away spirits. Relatively, the Japanese search to welcome the souls of their ancestors by making ready delicacies and performing Bon Odori. Many additionally go to the tombstones of their members of the family and polish the surfaces. They donate flowers, candles, incense sticks, and fruits to native temples and at altars. On the final day of Obon, one is meant to see off their ancestors by releasing sky lanterns or by burning a bonfire.

Kyoto organizes the largest bonfires over the Daimonji Mountain. Big effigies of kanji characters, measuring a width of 5.2 toes, are lit by Buddhist monks. The Japanese consider that the sunshine from the hearth guides the spirits again to the afterlife. If you wish to expertise it in Japan, the preferred spots to go to are Shikoku, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Nagasaki. Exterior of Japan, Obon is well known with nice fervor within the U.S. and Brazil. These celebrations happen principally in properties and Buddhist temples. Cultural and meals bazaars are additionally held.

Obon Pageant timeline

seventeenth Century

The Apply of Butsudan

The custom of getting a household altar turns into commonplace in Japanese properties.


First Point out in America

The Yamato Shimbun newspaper in Hawaii makes a reference to Bon Odori for the primary time.


Introduction to the U.S.

Reverend Yoshio Iwanaga introduces Bon Odori to the mainland.


Document-Breaker Bon Dance

Yao Kawachi Ondo Pageant Affiliation holds the world’s largest ‘bon’ dance that lasts six minutes and 16 seconds.

Obon Pageant FAQs

Are there any particular rituals noticed throughout Obon?

Sure, 4 essential customs are noticed throughout Obon. The festivities embrace Obon Iri the place folks arrange lanterns. That is adopted by Mukaebi which refers back to the welcoming fireplace that guides ancestors dwelling. One other ritual is the ceremonial service for the deceased often called Obon Ake or Okuribon and at last, Okuribi which is the send-off ritual the place folks float lanterns or launch them in the direction of the sky.

Is Obon celebrated within the U.S.?

Sure, Obon is extensively celebrated in a couple of states of the U.S., together with Oakland, San Diego, Charlotte, Philadelphia, and St. Paul.

What’s the significance of Obon?

The Japanese have a good time the Obon competition to commemorate and reunite with their lifeless ancestors. It’s a three-day celebration that begins with welcoming the spirits and ends with guiding them again to the afterlife. The competition has particular significance in Japanese tradition and the Japanese of us have a good time it with full fervor partaking in dance, music occasions, cooking, and lighting bonfires.

Obon Pageant Actions

  1. Groove to the beats of Taiko drum

    Let your guard down and dance your coronary heart out in celebration of Obon. You might also think about studying the standard people dance, Bon Odori, and becoming a member of in with the dancers.

  2. Go to a grave

    In case you’re Japanese or have a buddy from Japan, accompany them to their ancestors’ graves and assist them wash the tombstone. When you’re at it, don’t neglect to supply your prayers to the deceased.

  3. Float a lantern

    One of many widespread rituals throughout Obon is to launch sky lanterns or float lanterns down a river. It’s believed that these lanterns information the spirits to the opposite realm. As they ultimately burn out, they’re considered as a send-off of those cherished spirits.

5 Info You Didn’t Know About Obon

  1. It originated in India

    Obon has Buddhist origins in India with a 500-year-old legacy.

  2. Sanskrit title

    The phrase ‘Obon’ is derived from the Sanskrit time period ‘Ullambana’ which suggests ‘to hold the other way up.’

  3. It has completely different timings somewhere else

    The dates for Obon may fluctuate from place to put—mid-July within the japanese components of Japan and mid-August within the southern areas.

  4. An interesting customized

    The Japanese use cooling meals gadgets like eggplant, cucumber, and watermelon, into which they insert wood chopsticks to make spirit animals.

  5. The Largest bonfire rites

    Gozan-no-Okuribi is the biggest bonfire lighting observe in Japan that takes place throughout Obon.

Why We Love Obon Pageant

  1. Relishing Japanese delicacies

    There are rituals, funeral rites, and people dances. Obon can also be about conventional Japanese meals. Go to any group occasion, and also you’ll get to relish numerous conventional dishes and fried noodles.

  2. Observing Japanese traditions

    Think about an genuine expertise of the competition. You may go to Japan in August. Lose your self within the merrymaking and attend fascinating occasions just like the bonfire lighting at Kyoto. There are additionally festivals for dance lovers, and temple and altar visits.

  3. Costume up in a kimono

    Get into the custom at Obon. A number of “rent-a-kimono” retailers throughout Japan allow you to put on the standard apparel for a day.

Obon Pageant dates

Yr Date Day
2023 August 13 Sunday
2024 August 13 Tuesday
2025 August 13 Wednesday
2026 August 13 Thursday
2027 August 13 Friday

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