Monday | May 22, 2017
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O-bon time at Honomu Henjoji

The Honomu Henjoji Mission (Odaishisan) will hold its annual Hatsu-bon and O-bon services on Saturday, June 16, beginning at 5 p.m. The Hatsu-bon, or first bon, service is performed for a person who has died since the previous year’s O-bon festival.

The traditional O-bon dance will follow the services at 7 p.m. with live music provided by the Hilo Bon Dance Club.

The public is invited to attend with family and friends. Saimin, hot dogs, cold drinks, coffee, bottled water and shaved ice will be sold by the temple members. Proceeds from the concession booths will go toward the mission’s building fund.

The Japanese immigrants brought many traditions to Hawaii. One of them was the O-bon Dance Festival. The O-bon season runs from June through August and is a ceremony that honors the ancestors of the Japanese people.

The O-bon dance originated in Japan as a dance to honor the deceased. It is called “The Festival of the Souls,” “The Feast of the Dead,” or “The Festival of Lanterns.” It is when the souls of the departed return to Earth to be with the living during O-bon and is usually celebrated by cleaning of graves and the offering of food.

“This is a joyous event celebrating the return of the souls and happiness that they are back,” said a mission spokesman.

To guide the ancestors, the Japanese traditionally have made special objects such as chochin (lanterns) and toronagashi (floating lanterns of paper) or straw boats with candles.

The dance formation is generally a circle or several concentric circles, depending on the number of participants. Musicians are usually in the middle of the dancers in a small tower called a yagura.

The O-bon dance is a tradition that has been passed down from the Japanese immigrants to the people of Hawaii. Today, many participate in the O-bon dance, commonly known as the bon dance. Although the O-bon dance began as a Japanese tradition, many other people of different races also honor their ancestors during this time.

To reach the Honomu Henjoji Mission, go on Highway 19 and take the Akaka Falls turnoff. The temple is next to Mr. Ed’s Bakery. For more information, please contact the Rev. Clark Watanabe, resident minister, at 963-6308.