Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bon Dancing At Hongwanji Mission

Maui Taiko did the drum accompaniment for a half-dozen numbers

Still on Maui - here's a post card, of sorts.

The annual traditional Buddhist O-bon festival is called the gathering of joy by the Jodo Shinshu Buddhists on Maui. It's a time of remembrance for those who have passed on to [insert dogma of your choice here], as well as a time of self-reflection; an important Buddhist practice.

People dance in circles around a central tower for hours to traditional dance moves that sometimes tell a story, sometimes are just to keep a rhythm. Anyone can join in; knowing the steps or wearing a kimono or some other traditional garb isn't required at all.

Another available light picture of the dance circles

There are usually a variety of local dishes for sale as a fundraiser for the mission, and always an area for games. The temple itself is also open for those wishing to sit and meditate, make merit or think of those they are there to honor. Below is one clip of the dancers in action:

I've seen quite a few of these festivals and one thing that seems to be a constant (at least on the islands I've been to) is the tradition of including the 1972 pop song "Beautiful Sunday", first half in Japanese, second half in English. I don't know who did this version, sorry to say. Not that I'd buy it, but it'd be interesting to know. It makes me laugh every time I hear it played at a bon dance. A clip of it is below.


krobbie said...

Bao-Bao, whatever everyone is doing at this dance / celebration makes absolutely no difference. It seems that all are having a great time and no-one is causing trouble. Yay!

Thanks for sharing. Be well.


khunbaobao said...

One definite plus of such festivals is that there's no alcohol available, which is a nice change, I think. You're far less likely to get hit in the head with an empty Primo beer bottle while walking back to your car!