July 12 – 16
Obon, Festival of the Dead
Celebrated in Japan, Obon or Bon may be compared with All Hallows’ or All Souls’ Day. It is commonly believed that the spirits of the dead return to earth during Obon, and preparations rations are made to receive and honor them. Family shrines are cleaned, and special meals known as the “Feast of Fortune” are prepared for the spirits. Because lanterns are lighted in the cemeteries and at doorways to welcome ghostly visits, the holiday day is often called the Festival of Lanterns. Obon festivals are often sponsored by Buddhist religious congregations and are celebrated in Japan and in Japanese communities throughout the world.