This message relates to Obon which is observed from July 13-15, 2014.
Obon, also referred to as “The Festival of the Souls,” is one of the most important Japanese traditions. Obon was originally celebrated around the 15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. Obon periods are nowadays different in various regions of Japan. Therefore, Obon is celebrated in some regions around August 15th and other regions around July 15th. During Obon people believe that their ancestors’ spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family. This is the time when people can pray for the spirits and guide and help their ancestors’ spirits to find peace.
During this festival period of 3 days, families hang lanterns outside their homes and beside the graves to welcome the souls home. Japanese people also clean their homes and place a variety of food offerings such as vegetables and fruits in front of a butsudan (Buddhist altar) for their ancestors’ spirits. Chochin lanterns and flower arrangements are also usually placed by the butsudan. During this period people also gather for outdoor dances known as Bon dance.
*This information was drawn directly from a variety of sources:
Additional information on religious holidays can be found at:
This message is posted as an informational service to the campus community. If you are not interested, please delete. You are asked to refrain from responding with your personal views to the individual who provided the information.
Eveadean M. Myers, J.D.
Equity, Diversity, and Global Outreach
Title IX and ADA/504 Coordinator
Fulbright Scholar Japan 2013
North Dakota State University
P.O. Box 6050, NDSU Dept 4600
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
701 231-7708 Voice
701 231-9799 Fax