2020 Virtual Obon

Obon is a series of events in Japan that enshrine the spirits of ancestors in the summer that are based on Buddhism and Ancestral worship.


Typically, in Japan, between August 13-15 (depending on the region), people return to hometowns to celebrate Obon each year. Families gather, clean their graveyard, the shrine in the house and light the lanterns to welcome the spirits home on the 13th of August. After the spirits spend a few days with family, on the night of the 16th or 15th depending on the regional tradition, people dance Bon-Odori in a circle under the lanterns to guide the spirits back to the other-world. People often dress in Yukata, Japanese one-layer summer cotton Kimono for the Obon festival.

The eighth annual Philadelphia Obon Festival 2020 will be going virtual with a variety of online activities and resources including Bon-Odori dance videos with instructions, a Japanese summer sweets recipe, an Obon seasonal craft, “What is Obon” picture/vocabulary edutainment, a virtual flea market, and you will learn how Philadelphia’s sister city, Kobe, celebrates their Obon in Japan. Virtual components of festival activities are free, family-friendly, and will be made available on our website for registrants.

Beginning at 8 PM, you can also join the Facebook Live stream of our Obon Lantern Launching Ceremony at Shofuso or register to participate in person here:

https://japanphilly.org/?event=2020-obon-lantern-lighting