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 it 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.

Let me 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.  
PS> My father is moving from the current hospital to a different care facility. Many trivial things to deal with and a bit under par. I'll have more free time and hopefully get better after obon, dear friends
Linking this post to Our World Tuesday 


  1. Lindo esse festival. Deves ter aproveitado bem. Desejo o melhor ao teu pai! beijos,chica

  2. What a special event, to renew you candles, maybe one day I will be part of it!

  3. Hello Miyako, I enjoyed the video sharing the festival, dancing and music. The family alter is beautiful, a nice way to respect and remember your ancestors. I hope all goes well with your dear father. Have a happy weekend. HUGS, Eileen

  4. How enjoyable to learn more about this delightful festival, and the video was wonderful, my dear friend!

    It is so hot here, too- 107 F several days in a row. Whew...

    I hope it works well for your precious dad at the new place. Please take care of yourself as you take care of others~

  5. a beautiful celebration to honor ancestors! happy music and dance. :)

    good luck with your father, dear miyako!

  6. Sounds way too hot in Japan! Here, not too bad . It rains a lot but it helps keep temperature down :-)
    I love obon and when I was child always enjoyed visiting grave with chochin in my hand. I walked very carefully in graveyard because falling down there was thought to be bad luck.
    I pray for you and your father that everything goes well. It must be hard to deal with many things going on. I hope you feel better soon, Miyako san.

  7. Dearest Miyako,
    That is such a great festivity for paying respect to our ancestors. That applies for all cultures and religions. Let's hope that Japan will keep this tradition alive for young generations to pass it on.
    The music made me thing also of Java, Indonesia; there are a lot of similarities in South East Asia.
    Wishing you good luck with your Father. This is all so emotional and it does drain your energy... Tight hug dear friend and don't worry about visits. FAMILY first!

  8. Thank you for sharing this beautiful festival with us Miyako. It is lovely to pass on these stories and traditions and I can see that it teaches respect and love for family.

    I feel like we are 'old friends' but I wasn't visiting you the first time you posted about Obon, so I am very glad that you repeated it.

    I hope your father's new place will be perfect for him. And certainly I wish that you will soon have some cooler temperatures. It is no wonder you are feeling a bit low in spirits, with that heat and all of your responsibilities.

    Take care!

  9. Oh and I forgot to say I really did enjoy the video.

  10. Dear Miyako,

    Lovely to come and visit you dear friend and see some of your lovely customs.
    Loved watching the music and dance video, so beautiful.
    Hope that the weather cools down a little for you - that is very hot.
    Also wishing your dear father all the best in his new home and care.
    Sending hugs and hope you enjoy Obon week

  11. Dear Miyako, I have enjoyed reading about the Bon festival, the dance looks such fun. So many young people taking part, including the boys. It's very inclusive, so many cultural dances are for either men or women but not both.
    Take care,

  12. What a beautiful event, nice video. Good luck with the move with your Father. Have a lovely Sunday

  13. Dearests Miyako sama!
    Yukata summer kimono obon no Augast.
    I was very happy with your in Japan.
    The festiral dancing with Kimono in kiraina otomodachi.
    Otosamani kiotoketa kudasaimase
    Anatamo kiotukete ne Miyako sama.

  14. What a fun video! Hope you're keeping cool.

  15. Fascinating post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  16. what i so admire about your culture is the respect and honor you show to the elderly and ancestors.
    loved the video.
    oh,goodness..104 is way too hot!!!!...hope your area wasn't that bad!
    keeping your father in my prayers..and you too!

  17. Dearest Miyako,
    Just came across this beautiful Japanese 'commercial' but I was thinking about you both. Your husband loves to work with wood and he loves to make music; he will certainly enjoy this piece by Bach.

  18. Dearest Miyako,

    My best wishes for your father.Oh my I wish have an opportunity trying yukata in my life ;)
    have a great sunday