Oh boy, Obon.

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Obon festivals sure have changed. We visited the Kona Hongwanji Mission festival last night. First, I cannot find andagi anywhere! Then there is that whole grannies doing the Electric Slide thing. I do like Beautiful Sunday but Achy Breaky Heart?!? The final straw came when pom pom dancers bounced around to Fukushima Ondo.

Reverend Mary Beth Nakade
explains – “The word bon comes from the Japanese word urabon which is a transliteration of the Sankrit ullambana, which means “hanging upside down,” a metaphor for the suffering that one experiences in the world of hunger and desire. At the time of Obon, food offerings are placed on Buddhist altars and charity is practiced in order to relieve the pain and suffering of others.”

“When we dance to the music and to the rhythms of the taiko drums, we dance joyfully for the sake of all of our friends, family members, and ancestors. Obon is a celebration of the oneness of all life and all peoples. It is about love, harmony, and community.”

Okay, put that way I can see where pom pom dancers fit in. I still miss the andagi though…

1 Comment so far

  1. Whitney (unregistered) on January 19th, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

    Hi! Was surfing the net and came across your post on Obon. I found it interesting that you mentioned Kona Hongwanji since thats my church. Actually we have never (as long as I can remember) had andagi. Although the Okinawan population is present there isnt much in the way of culture. Not like Oahu or some other temples. As for the weird dancing, a group of kids started doing more entertaining moves with lots of kicks and jumping about 10+yrs ago. Ever since, its been a part of our local tradition and as the years go by and we all get older, the younger kids start to take over with their own moves. But I do agree with your comment about songs…I want to the Koganji temple last summer of 05 in Manoa Valley and they did the electric slide to the song “Elvira”. Pretty weird. In any case, just thought Id drop my 2 cents! Aloha!



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