The Kohala Jodo Mission in Kapaau will hold its annual O-Bon ceremonies on Saturday, July 13, starting at 7:00 p.m. The O-Bon period is a time to remember, reflect, and offer gratitude and honor to family members and friends who have passed on. O-Bon was originally promulgated by Japanese immigrants of the Buddhist faith, but today has grown to include all people who wish to honor deceased family and friends, including military personnel who died serving our country, and also includes people who just have fun dancing and consuming a variety of food and refreshments.
This year, a new facet has been added to the Mission’s O-Bon activities which pays tribute to the Floating Lantern ceremony held at Ala Moana Park on Oahu by the Shinnyo-en Temple. There, small, lighted boats carry messages on the ocean to departed loved ones; the lights serve to guide them home and the messages reassure them of continued love and honor from family and friends. The Kohala Jodo Mission, being landlocked, will not have floating lanterns, but will instead have small banners decorated with silhouettes of lanterns. People will be able to write messages on these banners, which will be strung on lines above the dancers. After the dance, the banners will be carefully taken down. The next day the banners will be blessed and burned under the guidance of Rev. Wansa, who will then oversee the respectful disposal of the ashes.
Persons interested in writing messages on these banners should look for tables near the food concession. Banners will be distributed on a first come/first served basis until they run out.
Bon dance practice is held every Tuesday at 7:00 pm at the Kohala Jodo Mission. It is free and you get a great workout. For more information on O-Bon, contact Joy Ohta at 889-5334.