2017年8月21日 / 2018年8月11日更新
The ritual which Awa-odori is based on is still practiced in a fishing community in Tokushima.
Those who have lost a family member within the past year gather at a port.
This straw doll is said to act as a magnet for the souls of the departed.
People believe that facing the sea and calling out the names of the dead will bring their souls back to this world.
Then lively festival music is played. The participants form a circle and start dancing.
This dance expresses the joy of having the ancestral spirits back for a brief while.
In many parts of Japan, Obon takes place around the fifteenth of August over a period of several days.
There are various regional customs associated with it.
On the first day of Obon, small fires are lit at the entrances to homes.
This is done to help the ancestral spirits find their way home.
During the Obon period, there is a tradition to make cucumber horses and aubergine oxen.
This is based on the desire for the ancestors to come to visit as fast as possible riding on horses but to leave as slowly as possible riding on oxen.
A special table is set up for the spirits and offerings of the food and drink are placed on it.
It’s customary to treat the spirits as if they were still alive.
On the last day of Obon, August the sixteenth, fires are lit to send the spirits back to the world of the dead.
One of the grandest send-off displays is Kyoto’s ‘Gozan no Okuribi.’
The sticks of firewood used for the Bon fires are offerings on which people have written messages to their ancestors.
Torchbearers climb up the hillsides carrying torches blessed by Buddhist priests and light one pile of firewood after another.
Here, we see an ideogram on the hillside, bright and magnificent.
These Bon fires are thought to help guide the spirits back to their world.
These events and practices related to Obon provide a glimpse into the Japanese outlook on life and death, which is based on the notion that people should always give a warm welcome to the spirits of the deceased.