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O Bon Festival a gathering of joy

By Staff | Aug 14, 2014

The temple and grounds will be colorfully decorated with paper lanterns, flowers and banners for the O Bon Festival.

LAHAINA – Lahaina Hongwanji Mission at 551 Wainee St. invites the public to join in and experience its O Bon Festival on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22-23, with services beginning at 6 p.m. and dancing starting at 7:30 p.m.

Both evenings will be integrated with live and recorded music, bright lanterns and booming drums.

Although many of the dancers will be wearing colorful kimonos or hapi coats, everyone is welcome to dance as they are.

O Bon is one of the major Buddhist observances during the year. It is a joyous time to remember one’s ancestors, express gratitude for their sacrifices and to be with them in spirit.

On Maui, O Bon festivities begin in mid-June and extend through August. On each weekend during this period, services in remembrance of departed ancestors are held at different temples.

Dances begin after the services. Dancers in colorful kimonos form circles around the yagura (musicians’ tower) and dance to traditional and modern Japanese folk songs.

Food concessions will include traditional chow fun, nishime, bento plate, shave ice, sushi and soda. There will also be a craft sale and games for the young.

O Bon dance practice will be held on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m. at Lahaina Hongwanji Mission. For more information, call Richard Nishihara at 870-6478.