It’s Obon Season in Hawaii
This past weekend, we took the girls to their very first Obon Dance.
In Hawaii, the Summer months are known for their annual Obon Dance Festivals held every weekend at various Buddist Temples around the islands. This is a time for families to don their hapi coats, pound the taiko drums, and circle the yagura towers in honor of their ancestors.
It all begins in June with the annual lantern floating ceremony and continues for nine weekends of Obon Dancing.
Obon literally means “lantern festival” and the colorful hanging lights cast a glow over dancers at each location. The tradition is to light the way for the spirits of ancestors who are greeted with offerings of flowers, food and incense in temple rituals and on family altars.
From what I understand, the concept of dancing for the dead is based on a story about a disciple of the Buddha named Mokuren. The monk’s vision of his dead mother in the realm of hungry ghosts, starving because of her greed while alive, led him to ask Shakyamuni Buddha how he could relieve her suffering. He was told to offer food to monks returning from a retreat. His mother’s spirit was freed by his good deed, which led Mokuren to dance with joy.
Although based on a Japanese religious belief, Bon Dances have become a favorite event celebrated in the islands by all different ethnic cultures and religious backgrounds. It’s a great way for families to come together and share an evening of fun, food and dancing.
Girlie Girl especially liked the Taiko Drum performance since her Taiko classes resume in September. For those who don’t know what Taiko is, here is a short video from the Bon Dance.
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|About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii. She is also the founder of the group review site - Family Review Network. Follow along on her adventure of a lifetime this Winter as a member of the Vaseline Dry Skin Patrol!