This 21st century rendition of the age-old Buddhist festival, is popularly known as Obon, or "Festival of Souls." Observed for more than 1,400 years by Buddhist families in Japan, Obon marks the reunion of the living with the spirits of the dead. While it is a solemn occasion--a time to pay respect to one's ancestors--it also is a time of great joy as families welcome the spirits of their departed relatives. The festival's focal point is the nearly two-hour Bon Odori, or Bon Dance, with scores of colorfully costumed Japanese dancers, plus visitors (who need not be in costume), taking part. The public is invited and admission is free.
Added by davegolden on July 22, 2007