Japan is Preparing For Celebrating Obon

Japan is Preparing For Celebrating Obon

Obon is the Japanese traditional festival of honoring the ancestors’ spirits

From 13th of August until the 15th people in Japan will be celebrating Obon, which is the festival of the dead, also called the festival of souls. Even though Obon is a traditional festival and not an official national holiday, many offices will be closed and travel activity will prove hectic because many people take leaves during this period and return back to their home.

Usually, people take the entire week of Obon off, this holiday being one of Japan’s three major holiday seasons alongside New Year and Golden Week, and it is always accompanied by intensive domestic and international travel activities.

During this time the prices for public transportation, Shinkansen, and domestic flight tickets will shoot up by a large amount. In recent years, travel activity in mid August has become somewhat more spread out and less concentrated, but it is still considerable on certain days.

Obon is a traditional Buddhist festival for welcoming the spirits of ancestors, somewhat similar to Halloween. In the Buddhist custom, the spirits of past relatives come back to visit their children, and people welcome them with the Bon Odori dance.

The Bon Odori dance is meant to welcome the spirits, every region having their own local variation of it and a different music for it. People also prepare meals for the spirits, guide them home, and send them back with paper lanterns.