Obon is the Buddhist annual custom held in Aug 13-16（in some areas July）honoring the spirits of one’s ancestors. Though not designated as national holidays, most companies set as company holidays, making one of the long holidays in Japan. Many people go back hometown or travel, causing traffic congestion.
Our ancestors’ spirits coming back to family.
Our ancestors’ spirts are believed to come back to the family in our world during Obon week in Buddhism. It is common practice for people to go back home and visit family graves, making this period reunion for the separated families gathering together.
How people cerebrate Obon?
A small fire to show the way.
People visit family graves to pay respect. Some Buddhist beleivers make a offering in front of Buddhist altar. inside house.
On 16th evening, people make a fire again to send off spirits back without losing way.
The display of Cucumber horse and Eggplant cow.
People also make little cucumber horse and eggplant cow and display them in front of house entrance. Cucumber horse implicates “we want our ancestors to come quickly” and cow means “we want our ancestors to leave slowly because we miss them.”
Enjoy Bon Dance
During Obon season, Bon-odori, Bon Dance is held in each local community throughout Japan. Bon dance is originally held to calm the spirits of ancestors but nowadays we simply enjoy it as a recreational event of hot summer.
Bon dancers wear Yukata, summer light cotton kimono, making a circle around Yagura(center tower), enjoy dancing with special songs and Taiko drums for Bon Dance. Everybody from children to the elderly loves Bon Dance.
Feel the Japan summer!