Obon, or the Bon Festival, is a traditional Japanese observance held over a three-day period in the summer that signifies a time when the spirits of deceased family members are believed to return for a brief visit to the world of the living. The time is both joyous and solemn, an event to revere one’s ancestors and pay tribute to them. The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach hosts its own Bon Festival this Saturday to offer South Floridians a chance to both pay homage to loved ones and get a dose of Japanese culture. Here are the top four things to do at the Bon Festival.
One of the traditional activities done during the final day of Obon is the floating of paper laterns with messages written to loved ones that have passed on. The light from the flames are said to lead the deceased back to the otherworld. The Morikami Museum will sell individual latern sleeves that can be personalized ($10), Tanzaku slips ($1) which will be loaded together on a shoryobune (a small boat) and burnt together. Those who can’t make the ceremony can send out their latern via Twitter (#mylatern) and via the Morkiami Museum’s Facebook page.
2. Ennichi Street Fair
Stock up on an array of Japanese products from bonsai to tea and spices to beautiful orchids. Enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine, sake and the beer garden. The kids will love the candy apples, cotton candy and other cavity-causing fare and myridad activities just for them.
If you have never seen the drumming power of Taiko drum ensemble Fushu Daiko, you are in for a treat. The thunderous rhythms of the drumming team are sure to make an impression. Also, enjoy beautiful traditional Japanese folk dance, Bon Odori.
The evening’s festivities will culminate with a huge fireworks display as the floating laterns symbolically light the way for the ancestors.