Summer is here and the annual Obon festivals in Little Tokyo are quickly approaching.
We will be posting information about the upcoming Obon festivals as the get closer. In case you've never been before, or are not quite sure what Obon is, here is a quick primer for you.
Obon is a traditional Japanese Buddhist festival which honors the spirits of ancestors who have passed away. This festival started in Japan for over 500 years ago, and continues today. Typically there is food and dancing at the festivals, the dancing is called Bon Odori. Bon Odori is a celebration at which time one should feel gratefulness toward their ancestors. Their are many different Bon Odori dances which vary from temple to temple and also many different versions of the dance. There are traditional songs which Bon Odori are danced to. Traditionally Kimonos and Yukata are worn to the festival. At some places Toro Nagashi takes place which is when people float small paper lanterns in the water to signify the spirit's return to the land of the dead.
Obon in Japanese American culture is very important. It it typically held in conjunction with a bazaar with games and sells cultural food. Sometimes their will be performances from Taiko groups. Also similar to Japan dances vary from temple to temple, and the festivals are held at different times at different places. Stay tuned for more information about Obon in Little Tokyo!