Obon in Japan Date in the current year: August 13, 2024

Obon in Japan The festival of Obon (or simply Bon) is one of the Japanese Buddhist custom. This festival is celebrated for three days: from August 13 to 15. Originally the festival was observed on the 15th day of the7th lunar month, but after transition to the Gregorian calendar the date of celebration is fixed.

The name of the festival is a shortened form of “Ullambana”, the Sanskrit word for “hanging upside down”. There is an interesting story, that explains origin of this festival. According to the story, one disciple of the Buddha used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He saw, that she had fallen into the realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. The disciple wanted to help her mother and asked the Buddha what he could do. The Buddha instructed him to make offerings to Buddhist monks on the 15th day of the 7th lunar calendar. The disciple did so and saw his mother's release.

The festival of Obon exists in Japan for over 500 years. The days of the festival are good opportunity for the Japanese family to reunite, many people visit and clean graves of their relatives.

Bon Odori (Bon dance) is one of the traditions of Obon. The dance is performed only during the three days of the festival. In many regions of Japan traditional dance may vary.

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