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  • If you have ever wanted to know more about the Obon holidays, you are in the right place.


  • This is inside Japan.


  • Obon, along with Golden Week and the year end holidays, are the three periods of time that the majority of Japan is on vacation.


  • Many large chain stores remain open, but most businesses both large and small, are closed allowing people to return to their hometown or travel elsewhere.


  • That being said, airfare is high and accommodations can be harder to come by.


  • All that aside, what exactly is Obon?


  • Japan celebrates many holidays that originate from all over the world.


  • Obon is no exception.


  • Obon is a Buddhist/Confucian holiday, which is sometimes referred to as Bon.


  • Originally, it came from the Ullambana festival from India, but much like Dia de los Muertos in Latin America, Obon is a holiday to honor family that have passed away as well as ancestors.


  • This holiday has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years.

    この祝日は日本で 500 年間祝われています。

  • Although most holidays lasts one day, Obon is a three-day holiday.

    多くの祝日が 1 日のみのところ、お盆は 3 日間に渡ります。

  • Traditionally in Japan, it was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

    伝統上、お盆は陰暦の 7 月 15 日に祝われてきました。

  • At the beginning of the Meiji era, Japan changed to the Gregorian calendar.


  • This caused Obon to be celebrated at three different times depending on the region.

    よって、お盆は地域ごとに、3 つの異なる期間に祝われるようになりました。

  • These three different times are Shichigatsu bon, Hachigatsu bon and Kyu bon.

    七月盆、八月盆、そして旧盆が前述した 3 期間です。

  • Kyu bon uses the traditional dates and is celebrated in the Chugoku, Shikoku and the northern Kanto regions as well as in the Okinawa prefecture.


  • Shichigatsu bon is based off the solar calendar and is celebrated around July 15th.

    7 月盆は陽暦の 7 月 15 日あたりに祝われます。

  • This is when many people from the Tohoku region and part of the Kanto region celebrate it.


  • Hachigatsu bon is based off the lunar calendar and is celebrated around August 15th.

    8 月盆は陰暦に則り、 8 月 15 日あたりに祝われます。

  • This is when most Japanese people celebrate it.


  • Even though it is not considered a public holiday, most people are given leave during obon.


  • During this time people return to their ancestors' homes and have a family reunion.


  • Many families spend time with each other as well as clean their ancestor's graves.


  • Some adults might even use this time to see old friends.


  • Also, many local festivals take place during this time.


  • The lanterns during this festival are said to guide the spirits to their families.


  • For this reason, some lanterns are placed in homes.


  • In some festivals Yaguras are constructed.


  • A yagura is a small tower or bandstand used to hold traditional drums and drummers.


  • This type of drum is known as taiko.


  • People do a traditional dance around the yagura to the beat of the taiko drums.


  • This type of dance is called bon Odori.


  • The places that don't use yaguras dance in a straight line down the street.


  • During these festivals many people can be seen wearing yukatas.


  • A yukata is traditional Japanese clothing very similar to a kimono but the overall differences are that it is lighter, made from cotton, and more casual.


  • Even though Obon does deal with death, it is not supposed to be a time of fear or sorrow, but a time of celebration.


  • This was Inside Japan, and thanks for watching.


If you have ever wanted to know more about the Obon holidays, you are in the right place.


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