Sunday, July 23, 2017

Obon Festival-Pasadena Buddhist Temple

Yesterday we went to the annual Obon Festival held at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple.  

This brought back many memories from my childhood attending Obon dance practices before Nisei week and watching the parade of dancers on 1st street in Little Tokyo.  I had not been to an Obon Festival in many years.  

We had preplanned to meet up with our friends Mary and David.  
They arrived before us and were seated in the shade eating Japanese shaved ice.  


There were booths for games 

and food for sale (chow mein, teriyaki beef and chicken, cha siu baos, chinese chicken salad, and various specialty food items).

Ikebana flower arrangement exhibits

displays of historical significance

We watched the Kendo demonstrations

  We enjoyed the Taiko drummers

 The Buddhist Temple in Pasadena is set near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.  It was a clear, hot July afternoon.
 At 6:30 everyone is invited to participate in the "Obon Odori" dance.
 This is a traditional dance for joy.
    Even if you don't know the dance you can follow along and participate.
  There are different dances with music and Taiko drumming.
   This brought back many many memories for me.

  I had such a good time seeing everyone dance from very young children to many seniors.

 Many were from other Buddhist churches in southern California. 

"Obon is a Buddhist observance that was originally observed in Mahayana Buddhist countries, including China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Obon season is a time to express gratitude to loved ones who have passed on. Without them, we would not be who we are today, due to the basic tenet of interdependence. Obon has been held in Japan since 657 A.D."-Rev. Patti Usuki

Each dance has a name. One of the dances was called "ichigo ichie".  My friend Mary shared this with me:
"Here is the meaning of this 'ichigo ichie' "one opportunity, one encounter" meaning treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.  It is a zen saying of the tea ceremony.  I love this thought, it makes you stay in the moment because it will not recur again."

If you have a chance to experience a summer time Obon festival in your area you should.  It's a great way to experience a traditional   cultural event.

 DatesJuly 22 - 23, 2017 - Saturday & Sunday

Festival Obon Times (Different End Times)
Sat: 4:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Sun: 4:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Festival Saturday July 22 and Sunday July 23, 2017
1993 Glen Avenue
Pasadena, California 91103
Free admission and parking. Everyone is welcome

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