Obon is a Japanese holiday held for the purpose of honoring one’s ancestors. Occurring from August 13-16, Obon is an event full of tradition that has been celebrated in Japan since the early seventh century A.D. Japanese people observing Obon often travel back to their family’s ohaka, traditional gravesite. Obon is thus an event that draws family members together from all over the country. On the 13th, families typically visit the ohaka, inviting the spirits of their ancestors back to the home until the end of the festival. Obon is marked by many traditions, which differ from location to location. Special dances called bon-odori are performed by enthusiasts. Magnificent fireworks displays and parades are also features associated with Obon. During this period, many stores are closed and major cities become noticeably less crowded. As one of Japan’s foremost yearly events, Obon is a lively and important occasion for millions of Japanese families.
Updated: July 26, 2019