yuko o-bon August japan

[Meet the Ancestors]

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Aug 01 ,2018

Speaking of the traditional Japanese festivals in August, people must think about the "O-Bon". O-Bon is a festival of tomb-sweeping and mukaebi-lighting to thank the gods and ancestors. The O-Bon is usually held around August 13~16 (varied from place to place),

during this period, many companies will stop working, and people will return home to sweep the tombs, meet their relatives and offer ancestors. This time I'd like to introduce to you the methods of Japanese offering ancestors during O-Bon.

yuko o-bon August japan

First of all, people shall prepare for meeting the ancestors. In order to meet the spirit of the ancestors, people must clean the butudan and butugu. On the first day of sacrifice, people shall put the "Shoryodana" at home, that is, the "Bondana", which is the unique decoration and special frame for laying offerings in O-Bon.

People will put "cucumber horse" and "eggplant cow" on the Shoryodana, which are also called "Shoryo-uma"and "Shoryo-ushi", as the name suggests, that is to stick the chopsticks on cucumber and eggplant, making it look like an animal. People pray that the souls of the ancestors can come back to the world quickly by Shoryo-uma, and return to the underworld slowly by the Shoryo-ushi.

In addition, in order to let the ancestors come back smoothly without getting lost, people will light the "Mukaebi" as the marks, and when sending them away, people will also light the "Okuribi".

On August 13, lighting the "Mukaebi" to welcome the spirit of the ancestors.
On August 14 and 15, laying offerings on the butudan to worship the soul of the ancestors.
On August 16, lighting the "Okuribi" send away the spirit of the ancestors.

yuko o-bon August japan

As a summer landscape poem, Kyoto's famous "Daimonji" is also a kind of Okuribi, as well as the "Tourou Nagashi" that floating the lantern in the river, which is often seen in the summer. In addition, the "Bon-odori",which is indispensable in the summer of Japan, is also one of the sacrificial customs.

Nowadays, most people just sweep the tombs during the O-Bon, the above-mentioned regular ancestral memorial activities have become increasingly rare. But anyway, we shall remember forever to express our gratitude to the ancestors.

yuko o-bon August japan

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