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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bon Odori Celebration

"Bon festival" is the Buddhist observance honoring the spirits of ancestors; traditionally observed from 13-15 August (July in some areas). It is also calledd Urabon or Obon. It is a Buddhist festival in honor of the spirits of the dead, who return once a year to visit their families.

Typically at Bon, a "spirit altar" (Shoryodana) is set up in front of the butsudan (Buddhist family altar) to welcome the ancestors' souls; then a priest is requested to come and read a sutra.

Among the traditional preparations for the ancestors' return are the cleaning of grave sites and preparing a path fron them to the house and provision of straw horses or oxen for the ancestors' transportation.

Bon Odiri is performed to entertain the spirits of the ancestor. Bon and the New Year are the two high point of Japanese festival calendar. On both occasions, custom strongly urges all members of a family no matter how scattered, to gather together to honour their ancestors.
(source - The Kodansha bilingual Encyclopedia of Japan)

Anyway, I would say that the programs performed this year is a bit boring and couldnt really attract young people. The location is bad also. The half field is covered by mud and made visitors dirty. Cancelation of fireworks presentation due to safety reason (there is a petrol station nearby) was a big disappointment, as most people were came for it. Hopefully they can do it better next year as they will change the location back to Gurney Drive...

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