Today is the first day of Obon in our area. August 13-15 is celebrated here as the festival of the dead. It’s actually a Buddhist event for remembering the ancestors. It is believed that the spirits of the ancestors return thru the veil to visit their families during this time.
The first day of obon is marked by a dance festival. If you want to learn more about Obon you can read my previous article here: Obon Season Is Upon Us
We have a Hatsubon to attend this year. Hatsubon is the first Obon of a loved one that has passed. A few months ago my father-in-law’s brother’s wife passed away so it is important that we attend the bondori (the dance ) despite the fact that as I write this it is it is 102 degrees and with the heat index it’s 122 degrees F.
Really. I have a screen shot of the weather app to prove it.
We missed obon completely last year as we jumped on an aircraft and flew over to the island of Saipan to help out with the devastating typhoon that they suffered.
This year we have some make-up visiting to do. It’s customary to visit the homes of relatives during this time to pray and light incense at the family altar.
We decided that since we missed obon completely last year this year we will wear Japanese yukata instead of western clothing. Yukata are the light cotton summer “kimono” worn during the summertime. We are also going to dance tonight at the bondori.
I needed dancing shoes so I ran out and got a pair of comfy ones. These are Japanese wooden geta-and they are worn with summer yukata.
I have owned really cute geta but I gave them all away when I left Saipan. My girlfriends that saw them all fell in love with them. These are plain geta with a super comfy strap. It is so hot today that I honestly didn’t feel like running to a few different stores to find prettier ones in my size. The shop had some that were nicer but they were higher -like heeled clogs. I can’t dance in those. The dance areas are outdoors and the ground is usually uneven -I’ll end up twisting my ankle in high geta.
These were much better for dancing and I love the soft straps. No blisters this year!
This is hubby and I about 16 years ago on one of our trips to Japan before we moved here. This was obon season and we are both wearing summer yukata.
It’s now 3:00pm and I just glanced at the temperature. Thankfully it’s down to 110 degrees now….HA. It will cool off some before the dance which starts at 8pm. I’m guessing it will get down to about 90-95 by then which will feel blissfully cool!
Ok-I’m off to paint my toenails. Something I only do for obon.