For most Japanese, it’s summer holiday called お盆休み obon-yasumi from tomorrow. Obon is the time Japanese traditionally welcome their ancestors’s spirits back home, pray for their repose and send them back to beyond the grave.
It starts with mukaebi, a small fire in front of each house to guide the spirits of ancestors. In some areas, lanterns are used instead of the fire as the guide. And it ends with okuribi, the same small fire in front of each house to send the spirits back. In some regions, the spirits are sent off by 灯籠流し toro-nagashi, floating lanterns down rivers.
A horse made of a cucumber and a cow made of an eggplant are prepared at each home and these are called shouryou-uma. These are vehicles for the spirits, a horse to come back to their home quickly, and a cow to go back to another world slowly.
盆踊りbon-odori, simply meaning bon dance takes place during obon period. Bon odori used to be something very religious but this days, it is more like an opportunity for people to reunite with old friends as many people go back to their home town in obon holiday to spend few days with their family. People go to their neighborhood bon odori venue, often wearing yukata, to dance. Many pop-up restaurants selling various foods such as yakisoba stir fried noodles, okonomiyaki japanese pancakes, yaki-toumorokosi grilled corns, kaki-gohri shaved ice etc are in and around the venue.
Even if you don’t know how to bon-dance, it is worth joining just to enjoy the Japanesey music, atmosphere and those foods !
Hi ! I'm Yoshimi. Here are some updates on TOKYO KITCHEN, Japanese food, Asakusa, Tokyo and more.