Notification of Japanese holiday – Obon festival from Aug. 11th to Aug. 15th
Our office will be closed due to Obon Japanese holiday between Aug. 11th – Aug. 15th.
We will respond to each inquiry and email in order from Aug. 16th.
Sorry for the inconvenience and we beg your patience.
Let’s talk about Obon!
Have you heard about the story of Obon?
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirit of one’s ancestors.
Obon centers around a belief that the spirits and souls of loved ones and dead ancestors come back to visit.
Chochin (paper lanterns) are hung to guide the spirits and Obon dances (bon odori) are performed.
Families have reunions and visit the graves of their relatives and make food offerings at altars and temples.
This is common practice in Japan, and ladles for water are usually provided by the cemetery (and the people who run it) itself.
The lanterns are to guide the ancestors home, and in some cases a communal fire is lit.
The offerings are done as a way to unify the spirits with the living, and is symbolic way to treat them as the living.
The dances known as bon odori is a specific type of dance done during the festival.
There are conflicting reports as to the reason behind the dances including doing it as a sort of ritual to honor those that passed during the Gempei Wars.
Still others say it is done in a way to be meant as if they are dancing with their ancestors.
The reasoning may also depend upon region, so there is not one specific reason for the bon odori.
At the end of the Bon festival period, fires and lanterns are once again put out to send the spirits home to where they came from.
Sometimes lanterns are released on the water, lit with a candle that represents the soul of the ancestors.