Thunder and tradition in the heart of Hilo — Taishoji Bon dance
O-Bon, or just Bon, is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors.
The Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to the family home to visit and clean the family graves, and it’s when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to return home.
It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years (in Hawaii for about 100 years), and traditionally includes a dance festival, known as Bon Odori.
Taishoji’s O-Bon celebration includes a short Soto Zen religious service on dance night, popular old and new folk dances of Japan, a 20-minute Taiko performance, a concession booth, a solemn memorial service and, finally, a farewell of floating lanterns (Toro Nagashi) for the spirits of family members on the Wailoa River while the audience sings the beloved “Aloha ‘Oe” before the O-Bon festival comes to an end.
But since this is a private religious event, outsiders’ lanterns are not permitted for Toro Nagashi because of fire hazards in the small boat harbor.
The Bon festival season on Hawaii Island is June to September, and Taishoji Soto Zen Temple’s O-Bon is slated for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2-3. The Bon Dance Festival begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, the O-Bon Memorial Service starts at 9 a.m. Sunday, followed at 10 a.m. by the Hatsu Bon Service.
The Toro Nagashi (floating lanterns) ceremony begins at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Wailoa Boat Ramp, with a Taishoji Taiko performance, followed by the lantern floating farewell service. Officiating will be the Rev. Jiko Nakade of Kona Daifukuji Soto Mission. She will be assisted by Deacon Juho Kirkpatrick of Taishoji and Lay Temple Assistant Jikai Nakade of Daifukuji.
The public is invited to watch or join in the dancing. Admission is free, and kimonos and happis are desired but not required.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.