You can see your ancestors' spirits? / Obon Holiday

You can see your ancestors' spirits? / Obon Holiday

In Japan, there is a period called Obon.

In this issue, we would like to introduce the unique Obon culture of Japan.

Obon (お盆) is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors, whose spirits are believed to temporarily return to this world in order to visit their relatives during Obon.



The time of Obon may vary from region to region. Generally, it is held in August (August 13-16) in most places, while in Tokyo and some other parts of the East region, it is held in July (July 13-16). It is said that Obon in August became common because it is easier for family members and relatives to gather together and to hold memorial services for ancestors by staggering the time of the Obon Festival between Tokyo and other parts of Japan. (*There are various theories)


How do we spend the Obon Holiday?

Let's welcome our ancestors!

Let's offer cucumbers and eggplants. We prepare a horse made of cucumber for when our ancestors come from the sky, and a cow made of eggplant for when they return. The horse made of cucumber means "to be able to welcome them as soon as possible," and the cow made of eggplant means "to be able to return home slowly and leisurely.

Let's visit graves!

We clean up around the graves where our ancestors rest and express our gratitude for the fact that we are alive and well now.


The cauldron of hell will open during the Obon…?


This is a famous Obon proverb. When the cauldron of hell opens, even those who have gone to hell can come back. The meaning of this proverb is that people should take about 16 days off from work during the New Year and 16 days during the Bon Festival. As a result, various schools and companies in Japan offer "Obon vacations.

On the other hand, it is also said that bad things tend to happen during this period. If a house does not have a welcoming fire, ancestors will wander around in this world because they do not know where to return. Ancestors who are not welcomed will not be able to return to hell, and this will lead to bad things happening easily because the lid of the hell kiln will open and the ancestors who were released from hell will wander around in this world.

Avoid during this period
Do not go to the beach
Do not move
Do not kill insects

It is only a Japanese superstition, so it is best not to worry too much about it!

How was it? Now you are a little more familiar with summer in Japan!🍆🍅

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