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Now in its eighth year, the Philadelphia Obon Festival will take place on Saturday, August 22, and is dedicated to those affected by the unexpected events this year.
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 and the shrine in the house and light 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.
Throughout the week leading up to Obon, stop by Shofuso to see a display of Yukata, Japanese summer Kimono worn in Japan to celebrate Obon, designed by Tamiko Laincz and Terry Sherwi, long-time JASGP members and volunteers. At 8pm on August 22, we will host our first lantern Ceremony at Shofuso, to be streamed on Facebook Live. Registrants can dedicate their lantern to a loved one and launch the lighted lantern to float on Shofuso’s pond at dusk. Registration is $25 ($20 for JASGP members) and includes a lantern. Space is limited.
Throughout the day on August 22, participate in virtual activities such as:
- Odori dance videos with instructions
- Information about how Philadelphia’s Sister City, Kobe, celebrates Obon
- Japanese summer sweets recipe
- Obon seasonal Spirit Animal Craft
- “What is Obon'' picture/vocabulary edutainment
- A virtual flea market
- Facebook live stream of the lantern launching