Japan Word of the Day #130 – Obon

Today’s Word is: Obon (お盆)

Obon (お盆) is an annual tradition in Japan during summer to honor spirits of ancestors and deceased. The tradition originates from Buddhist custom commonly known as “ullambana,” which is pronounced in Japanese as “urabon.” The exact date changes depending on the area, but it’s most commonly celebrated on August 15th. Many businesses in Japan take days off around this time (including Rinkya’s shipping department!).

The most fun part of Obon is bon odori (盆踊り) festival. Bon odori is one of the many ways people show respect to the deceased. In this festival, people dance cheerfully to celebrate spirits of the dead that managed to joubutsu, or to go to heaven. Many people dress up in yukata (summer kimono) and enjoy the dance.

bon odori

 

Image source: Chitose

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