I have been looking forward to attend this Bon-odori for the entire summer simply because I really really wanted to wear a yukata! Afterall, who can resist the beautiful cotton kimono in such spectrum of wonderful colors and springy patterns? You will instantly feel cheerful and youthful once you put it on, no wonder it is referred to as 'happi coat'!
Hehe, this is my very first yukata in my favourite pink cherry blossoms :) Thanks to my Japanese relative who helped me to tie my obi to a bow. How did the obi look, cloudnine? Hubby also wore his 'manly' yukata and he just loved it! We had never wore any costumes in our boring Canadian lives, not even in Halloween. The good thing about Japan is you can pretty much wear anything (well, as long as you cover yourself), nobody really stares or cares.
Bon is a time to honour Japanese ancestors and Odori means dance. Bon-odori is a memorial festival to appreciate what the ancestors have brought upon them. This is the set-up of a Bon dance, pretty impressive, eh?
Some young Taiko drummers started off the event ....
Then all kinds of festival dancers and lion dances too in very elaborate costumes. A pretty big production, I'd say. My Japanese relative told me this event is more for show, 'tailored made for TV Asahi' :)
Even the musicians came in big groups with old Japanese instruments
After dark, performers began dancing to happy folk songs in concentric circle around the Yagura.
Only the children were invited to join in. I was hoping to dance too, guess they didn't want me to ruin the beautiful sight :(
It was a real spectacle to not only witness such wonderful quality production of a major festival event, but also to experience the spirit of Bon-Odori like Japanese people (hehe, that is if I don't open my mouth and start talking :)
I learn that there is a deeper meaning to Bon-Odori : Obon is also a time of self-reflection - the joy one feels is not from the happiness of getting what one desires, but the joy of being shown the truth - the joy of awareness.
Obon reminds people to love and care for their parents. It also encourages the practice of selfless giving (dana) not only to family and friends, but to all beings. Now, I can't help but think about HRH and our dear BYJ family, miss him so much!