Friday, July 11, 2014

Obon means ghosts and remembering the dead

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly;; NHBT

I went into the sanctuary and could feel the ancestors around me (rpv-team/flickr).

What is Obon?
Animist, Buddhist, Pagan, and Catholic Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles may have the Day of the Dead (just after all ironic, nominal Christians celebrate Halloween).

But Japanese Buddhist and Shinto practitioners have much the same thing in this month's Obon Festival, which is being celebrated concurrently with the unrelated Lotus Festival and commencement of the annual Rains Retreat just a few miles apart.

Obon is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors. It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives.
Traditionally, lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits, Obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited, and food offerings are made at house altars and temples
At the end of Obon, floating lanterns are put into rivers, lakes and seas in order to guide the spirits back into their world. The customs followed vary strongly from region to region.

Obon is observed from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month of the year, which is July according to the solar calendar. However, since the 7th month of the year roughly coincides with August rather than July according to the formerly used lunar calendar, Obon is still observed in mid August in many regions of Japan, while it is observed in mid July in other regions. 
The Obon week in mid August is one of Japan's three major holiday seasons, accompanied by intensive domestic and international travel activities and increased accommodation rates. In recent years, travel activity in mid August.
  • Event Location: Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple
  • 815 First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • Obon Festival + Bon Odori Schedule:
Japanese Obon Festival and Bon Odori Schedule

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