Obon is one of the largest Buddhist festivals in Japan. Japanese people celebrate it to pay tribute to their ancestors by praying for their spirits. The festival is a very important one in Japan and lasts nearly a week, giving people ample time to reunite with their loved ones and focus on family. Therefore, it is celebrated widely with various traditional dance performances (Bon Odori) and a parade. Depending on the region, different folk dances are customarily performed. The dragon dance is a popular one nationwide. In Nagasaki, a Spirit Boat Procession is held as a part of Obon annually on the 15th of August. The boats are built and decorated by the grieving family members of the people of Nagasaki who died that year. The families push their boats in a parade in the street and light fireworks as they make their way through the city. The boats are intended to help bring the spirits of the deceased people to the Sukhavati, or Land of Bliss.
If you have a chance to come to Nagasaki, why don’t you try attending this extraordinary festival?
Spirit boat procession
Firecrackers on the street
Photo taken by Dương Tân