It's time for Obon!

Obon Blog This month marks the beginning of the Obon Dance season in Hawai'i. From July through August at Hongwanji's across the islands, families flock to dance the night away. Traditionally 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. To guide the spirits, lanterns are hung in front of houses, obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples. Here we dance with loved ones under the hanging lanterns donning colorful kimono and enjoying delicious saimin and andagi. The best part of the Obon season is that all are welcome and encouraged to participate - regardless of religious affiliation (and level of dance ability). Our trick is to find the best dancer in the circle and jump in next to him or her and follow what they do. Most have been dancing for years and are more than happy to show you the moves and translate the song for you. The songs and dances are fairly slow paced and easy to pick up (much slower than the Electric Slide for comparison). So when the music begins and you hear the beat of taiko drum, jump in and don't be shy! For a full list of the Bon Dance schedule check the newspaper or online at