What on earth is the Japanese Obon holiday? : Hey you beautiful boys and girls how is it going today? Welcome to another informative and amazing online Japanese lesson from the one and only BondLingo. Today, we are going to be talking all about the Obon Festival in Japan.
Firstly we will start by talking about what Obon is and then move onto talking about what people actually do during this festive period.
Sounds like a lot of fun right? Let’s get started guys we are going to jump right in.
What exactly is Obon?
So, what exactly is Obon? Obon along with Golden week and the year end holidays are the main times when all of Japan go on vacation. Most businesses shut up shop and return to their hometowns.
But what is Obon? Japan celebrates many holidays that originate from all over the world and Obon is no exception. Originally coming from India, this holiday has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years. This holiday is actually a 3-day holiday, cool right?
Obon (お盆) is an annual Buddhist event for paying respect to one’s ancestors. It is believed that every year, during obon, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to pay a visit to their relatives.
The Holiday starts to be celebrated around August 15th. This is the time when most Japanese celebrate it. Even though it’s not actually considered a public holiday, this is usually the time where businesses shut up shop and go home to their own families.
At this time, be warned, air fare is very expensive and accommodation, such as hotels and hostels, are highly sought after so make sure
What do people do in Obon?
So, what do people actually do during Obon? During the time of Obon people return to their ancestors’ homes and spend time with their family. One of the main activities that is carried out during Obon is the cleaning of the graves of ancestors. Other Japanese people also like to use this time to visit old friends.
There are many local festivals that take place during this time too. Lanterns are used during the festivals to guide the spirits to their families and that’s why people also place these lanterns in their homes as well.
In some festivals, small towers, also known as “Yagura” are created which are used to hold traditional drums. This type of drum is what’s known as Taiko. The people at the festival will perform a traditional dance around the Yagura called Bone Odori, to the beat of the Taiko drum.
During the festival many people can be seen wearing “Yukatas”. Yukatas are traditional Japanese clothing that are very similar in appearance to the kimono. Although these clothes are similar to the Kimono, they are lighter, made of cotton and are much more casual.
In Obon, some people like to light a “welcoming fire” at their front doors to welcome their ancestors and when it comes to the end of the celebration, a “send-off fire” to see them out into the spirit world. Some people like to float lanterns down the rivers. There are also some who like to insert disposable chopsticks or matchsticks into foods like cucumbers or eggplants to create horse or cow shaped figures for the spirits of their ancestors to travel home from the spirit world and back again once again.
Now even though Obon does deal with death, it is not supposed to be a time for death, fear or sorrow. It is meant to be a joyous occasion to celebrate the history of the ancestors that have passed. It’s a time to remember those that came before us and show our respect and gratitude towards our loved ones. Obon is a time to celebrate, and if you ever get the chance to attend one of these festivals, we would highly recommend that you get involved and immerse yourself in Obon.
Well guys, we really hope that you enjoyed our online Japanese article today all about Obon, what do you think about this holiday?. It really is such a magical festival and if you ever do get the chance to experience it for yourself you will not regret it. Sure the traffic and travel expenses can be pretty high, but it’s worth it, let us tell you. We will try and cover some more Japanese holidays in our upcoming articles soon that we are sure you will enjoy as much as this .
Thank you all ever so much for joining us on today’s topic and if you have any other subject that you would like to discuss, or questions that you would like to ask us. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.