Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Another summer day has come and gone away..."

For the last couple of months, I've been asked by Japanese friends if I'd be going home in mid-August.

That's because many people return to their hometown for the Obon period, August 13th through 16th.

Obon is an annual event for honoring one's ancestors. Buddhists believe that their ancestors' spirits return to earth in order to visit their relatives during the Obon period.

According to an on-line article about the holiday, "Lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide the ancestors' spirits, Obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples."

Although there's no mention of spectacular firework shows, that's what happened in Kuji on Sunday night -- concluding Obon with a bang!

Earlier that day I had been thinking and writing about the State Fair, and then that night was a fair-like festival in Kuji, with food booths, lots of people and a fireworks display! Nice timing. :)

It kind of felt like Independence Day, a month and a half late. Here are a few photos I took...

This photo is fun because the three girls on the left are taking pictures on their cell phones (a VERY common sight!), AND the gals in front of them are wearing summer kimonos called yukattas. So very Japanese.

I was sitting toward the front of the crowd. It seemed like the whole entire city was out by the river to watch the firework display.

I didn't capture a good picture of it, but there were a few fireworks shaped like animals! I've never seen anything like it.

I was definitely impressed by the fireworks...and by the number of people who were out watching them!


Dawn said...

Cool fireworks. I'm interested to know what people say when you say you aren't returning home for the Obon period.

Lauren said...

That looks like so much fun! Those fireworks look cool too!!! I am glad you got to enjoy the "fair" even though it is not quite like the state fair!
I think I am going to the state fair this weekend and I am going to try the chocolate covered bacon just for you!!!!
Ai Shiteru