Obon Fest

Welcome to the Obon Fest Page!

Here, you will find all the information of Obon Festival from History of Obon, and Annual Obon Dances at Oregon Buddhist Temple!

Obon 2022 Program has arrived! Check our blog or download the PDF below.

Our Obon festival is next month! We will be offering to hang a lantern at Obon to remember someone who has passed or to honor someone or an organization with a commemorative lantern. You may consider honoring a relative, friend, pet, or an important person in your life. The physical lanterns with the names will be displayed at the 2022 ObonFest on Saturday, August 6th.

We look forward to seeing you at the OBT Obon Festival!

Gassho.

Obon 2022 Program

Obon 2022  (dance tutorials, videos, and information)

Obon Dance List (All Obon Dances since 1990)

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What is Obon?

 

Obonfest (Obon) is a summertime Japanese (and Japanese-American) festival commemorating one's ancestors. In their honor, lanterns are hung, Bon Odori (Obon dance) is performed, memorial visits are made, and food is offered at home butsudans and temples.

 

Oregon Buddhist Temple celebrates Obonfest annually on the first Saturday of August with hundreds of participants enjoying the festivities each year. Other Jodo Shinshu Temples related to Buddhist Churches of America celebrate in the summer months as well. In California, Washington State, and Hawaii temples celebrate Obon, and it is often a cornerstone to a temple's fundraising efforts.

 

Central to Obonfest is Bon Odori (Obon dance). These joyful dances invite the community to celebrate and pay tribute to ancestors and those family members who have more recently passed. Each year experienced Bon Odori dancers lead the group, and all are encouraged to participate and follow along. Popular dances include the traditional Tankobushi, or coal miner’sdance, as well as more contemporary dances like Baseball Odori.

 

All are welcome families, non-Buddhist neighbors, and fun-loving food lovers. There is no entrance fee to come and enjoy.

The Origins and History of Obon in America

As Buddhist legend goes, Mogallana, a disciple of Buddha, had a meditative vision of his mother suffering in the World of Hungry Ghosts.  Buddha instructed him to provide a feast for monks returning from their summer retreats.  Upon doing so, his mother was released from her suffering and he danced for joy. This became the origin of Bon Odori. 

 

The first recorded Bon Odori in this country was held in San Francisco in 1931. Since then, Obon celebrations have flourished up and down the West Coast and throughout the country, becoming a fixture of both Jodo Shinshu as well as Japanese American life.  

At Oregon Buddhist Temple,  we emphasize two things about Bon Odori;  1.  This is not performance dancing, it is dancing for joy.   The idea is to lose your ego and enjoy the experience.   2. This dancing is about community, and everyone is welcome.  It is for everyone to be just together and enjoy.