Ekoji Buddhist Temple is celebrating its 31st Obon Festival on Saturday, July 14 at 5:30 p.m. with a full-evening of activities including traditional Japanese folk dancing, a memorial candle ceremony, children’s games and a taiko performance by Nen Daiko. Obon, or Bon, is a time of remembrance for our parents, grandparents and those who have come before us; it is a time to express our gratitude for all they have done for us, and for the interconnectedness of our lives.
The first video shows a group dance. I participated last year at the one in Ekoji. Sure I looked terrible but it was a lot of fun with friends. The second video shows the taiko drum performance they do every year. The last video is just general information about Obon Festival.
Bon Odori (盆踊り), meaning simply Bon dance is a style of dancing performed during Obon. Originally a Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region. Each region has a local dance, as well as different music. The music can be songs specifically pertinent to the spiritual message of Obon, or local min’yo folk songs. Consequently, the Bon dance will look and sound different from region to region. Hokkaidō is known for a folk-song known as “Soran Bushi.” The song “Tokyo Ondo” takes its namesake from the capital of Japan. “Gujo Odori” in Gujō, Gifu prefecture is famous for all night dancing. “Goshu Ondo” is a folk song from Shiga prefecture. Residents of the Kansai area will recognize the famous “Kawachi ondo.” Tokushima in Shikoku is very famous for its “Awa Odori,” or “fool’s dance,” and in the far south, one can hear the “Ohara Bushi” of Kagoshima
More on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival
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Uploaded by iamabaoDC on Sep 1, 2009
Nen Daiko’s three newest members lead Renshu during the Obon Festival at Ekoji Buddhist Temple on July 11, 2009.
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Obon is the Japanese Festival of the Dead in which Japanese believe the souls of the departed return home for a brief while. Obon is a Buddhist tradition but in the native Shinto faith there is the Mitama Festival which is in association with Obon. Mitama means soul of a deceased person.
At Yasukuni Shrine they celebrate Mitama/Obon Festival in July. Although a place of Shintoism, Yasukuni pretty does much of what traditional Obon celebrations do particularly Bon Odori (dances) and Toro Nagashi (place paper lanterns in the water). The only difference is the Mikoshi (portable Shinto shrine) which they march up to the shrine swaying and chanting.
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