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Anders Bekeken

Obon, Bon Festival and Bon Odori: Japan Summer Festival

Geschreven op 11-8-2010 - Erik van Erne. Geplaatst in Agenda, Evenementen Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

obon_festival_dancers-3810dObon is one of the most important Japanese traditions. People believe that their ancestors’ spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during Obon and pray for the spirits.

For the reason, Obon is an important family gathering time, and many people return to their hometowns.

Obon was originally celebrated around the 15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. Obon periods are nowadays different in various regions of Japan. In most regions, Obon is celebrated around August 15th, and it typically begins 13th and ends 16th of August.

Obon or Bon Festival is a Japanese custom festival celebrated as part to honor the deceased spirits of their ancestors. It is actually a customary tradition closely related to Buddhist practice and has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years. Now Obon or Bon has turned into an event where families gather for the holiday and people will return to their ancestral family places as well as visit and clean the graves of their ancestors. It was believed too that at this time around, the spirits of ancestors supposed to revisit the household altars.

Bon FestivalObon or Bon also include special dance by the local people known as Bon-odori and it is a dance that symbolize joy and appreciation for the deceased spirits of their ancestors. This festival usually last for three days but like previously stated, it is not celebrated on a fixed date and time, rather according to regions and community. There are shichigatsu Bon (around 15th July) in areas like Tokyo, Yokohama and Tohoku region, hachigatsu Bon (around 15th August), the most common celebration time, and there’s another called as Kyu Bon or Old Bon celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar so it differs each year. Kyu Bon is usually celebrated in areas like northern part of Kanto, Chugoku, Shikoku and southwestern islands. Obon is not national holiday but people are usually given permission for earlier leave.

Obon is not a Japanese national holiday, but many people take vacations during this time so that they can visit their hometowns. Especially, mid August is the peak travel season like Golden Week in Japan. Airports, train stations, and highways are jammed with travelers. Sources: Japan Uptown, Bhuda Channel and About Japan

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