Experiencing another culture always seems to enrich my life, add to my human experience, and can also be downright fun! Living in Japan for the majority of my life I’ve had the opportunity to participate in numerous traditional cultural events and festivals.
Japanese Customs and Traditions
The Japanese celebrate each season in its own unique way. Spring brings the “Hana-mi” (flower viewing) and “Sakura Matsuri” (Cherry blossom festivals), Fall has its’ “Momiji-gari” (Autumn leaf hunts), and Winter brings the ever popular “Yuki Matsuri” (Snow festivals), but the Summer festival “Natsu Matsuri” season brings my personal favorite, the “Bon-Odori”.
“Obon”, or just “Bon” as it is more commonly referred to, is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion type holiday, during which people return to their ancestral homes to visit and clean their ancestors’ graves.
They welcome their ancestors back with song, dance, and locally produced foods and products. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years, and traditionally includes a dance, known as “Bon-Odori”.
“Bon-Odori” on the Big Island
The Big Island of Hawaii has a large population of Japanese descendants who have continued to uphold this time honored Summer tradition. “Bon-Odori” – which literally means “Bon dance” - is a style of dancing performed during Obon.
The way in which the dance is performed usually differs by region, though the typical Bon dance involves people lining up in a circle around a tall wooden scaffold made especially for the festival called a “yagura”. The yagura also often doubles as the bandstand for the musicians and singers of the Obon music. Some of the dances proceed clockwise, while other dances proceed counter-clockwise around the yagura.
The Big Island of Hawaii OBon Festival Season 2012 starts in Kona at the Keauhou Shopping Center on Saturday, June 9 from 6:00PM – 10:00 PM. Admission is free, and free Bon Dance towels on a first come, first served basis. So come and enjoy the Kona Daifukuji Taiko and Kona Hongwanji Taiko musicians while you learn to Bon dance.
Big Island Bon Dance Schedule
- June 9, 2012 at 6-10 PM O-Bon Festival at Keauhou Shopping Center
- June 23, 2012 at 7 PM Papaikou Hongwanji Mission: (808) 964-1640
- June 30, 2012 at 7 PM Honomu Hongwanji Mission: (808) 963-6032
- July 6 & 7 2012 at 7:30 PM Puna Hongwanji Mission: (808) 966-9981
- July 7, 2012 at 7 PM Kohala Hongwanji Mission: (808) 775-7232
- July 13 & 14, 2012 at 7 PM Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin: (808) 961-6677
- July 14, 2012 at 7:30 PM Paauilo Hongwanji Mission: (808) 776-1369
- July 21, 2012 at 7:30 PM Honokaa Hongwanji Mission: (808) 775-7232
- July 28, 2012 at 7 PM Papaaloa Hongwanji Mission: (808) 962-6340
- July 28, 2012 at 7 PM Kona Hongwanji Mission: (808) 323-2993
- (Call office for date/time) Naalehu Hongwanji Mission: (808) 966-9981
- (Call office for date/time) Pahala Hongwanji Mission: (808) 928-8254
- August 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM Kamuela Hongwanji Mission: (808) 885-4481
- August 25, 2012 at 7 PM Honohina Hongwanji Mission: (808) 963-6032
*This schedule is subject to change. Please contact the temple office for more detailed information.
Interested in More Information or Want to “Talk Story”?
Hawaii is the ultimate collaboration of culture and people living harmoniously together. This way of life was the main reason why I chose the Big Island of Hawaii. If you are considering moving to the Big Island of Hawaii, or are in the market for real estate anywhere along the sunny Kona coastline, please contact me anytime for a no obligation “talk story” about why I make Kona home. Let me help you to live your best Hawaii life!
Please feel free to contact me anytime at:
Todd W. Barrett, Realtor(S), ABR