Obon, A Japanese Tradition Honoring The Ancestors’ Spirits
The bonodori is a spiritual dance to welcome the spirits. Every region has a local dance and a different music.
Have you heard about the 500 years old Japanese tradition called obon? Very similar to the Western Halloween, this holiday is called the Festival of the Dead and is one of the most important Japanese Buddhist custom.
The Japanese believe the spirits of the dead come back to visit the living and need to be honored. Obon usually takes place between August 13th – 15th, although the starting date depends on the region.
The first & last days of Obon
On the first day of Obon, Japanese families will usually clean their houses and prepare food offerings for their past relatives, called ozen (お
They will also set out paper lanterns (
Finally, after 3 days of celebration, spirits must be sent back to their grave. Once again, special lanterns will be lit, called “okuribi” (
A Celebration To Honor the Dead
Despite being an important custom in Japan, obon is not a national holiday. Many people will still take vacations in order to visit the graves of the family’s ancestors. The ritual is called ohakamairi (
Bonodori: A Dance to Welcome The Dead
The bonodori is a spiritual dance to welcome the spirits. Every region has a local dance and a different music. Most of the time, the dancers are moving in a large circle around a yagura (