Obon - Festival of Souls

photograph of long line of women with arms raised, wearing dance kimonos with large fabric belts, in a park in summer

Obon Dancers, Picture Butte, 1949
Galt Museum & Archives 19790284018

The Obon is a memorial service held in July or August. It is a day on which ancestors are honoured and the deceased remembered, a Buddhist festival day from ancient times.

The Obon service at the temple is usually preceded by a service at the graveyard, in which the persons who have died in the previous year are honoured. Gravesites and headstones are cleaned and decorated with fresh flowers. There are usually many people at the service at the graveyard since people come home for the occasion and for a family reunion. Outdoor dances are held, called bon-odori.

For more information on bon odori, go to "Dance" in the "Traditional Skills" section