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Bon Festival (Japan’s feast of lanterns)

Bon Festival (Japan’s feast of lanterns)

Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirits of one’s ancestors. The dates of the celebration differ based on region – this year, some regions will be celebrating in July, others celebrate in August.

This Buddhist–Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places. On the first day of Obon, people take lanterns to the graves of their families. They call their ancestors’ spirits back home in a ritual called mukae-bon. In some regions, huge fires are lit at the entrances of houses to guide the spirits to enter. At the end of the Obon festival, families help their ancestors’ spirits return back to the grave by guiding them with their lanterns.


Activity Ideas:

  • Watch this short clip all about Bon Festival in Japan – here
  • Make your very own paper lanterns with twigs and leaves – here
  • Explore reminiscent recipes from the past with our activity – here