Bon Festival for kids
The Bon Festival, sometimes known as ‘Obon’ or ‘The Festival of Lanterns’ is the time of year when Japanese Buddhists commemorate and give thanks to the spirits of loved ones. The three-day festival begins on the 18th of August.
by Steven McKinnon, Mindful Mum, August 16th 2012
- What is the Bon Festival?
- How is the Bon Festival celebrated?
- How to celebrate the Bon Festival with your little one
- Sata andagi recipe
- Watch a video of a bon odori dance
The Bon Festival, or Obon, is a Japanese Buddhist festival that started more than 500 years ago. The festival commemorates the spirits of loved ones and family members who have passed away. It is believed that these spirits return during Obon to visit their families.
Obon is observed from the 13th day of the seventh lunar month (typically August, using the solar calendar), and culminates on the 15th day.
The festival is both joyous and solemn, and is often celebrated with bon odori, a folk dance which is performed to welcome and entertain the spirits of the departed.
In some communities, fairs with shop stalls, games and other amusements may be found as well.
During last day of the festival, illuminated paper lanterns are created and then floated downriver, symbolising the journeying of the spirits. This ceremony usually concludes with a display of fireworks.
Will you be observing Obono from home? If so, why not try this sata andagi (Japanese doughnut) recipe? Feel free to let your little one help as well!
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- 3.5 tablespoons of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Using a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 350F or 175C.
- Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla in a large bowl, and sift in the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Add the egg to the mixture, and stir until you get a smooth dough.
- using a teaspoon, place small lumps of the dough into the deep fat fryer, and fry until golden brown and the doughnuts rise to the top.
- Drain on plates lined with paper towels, and serve hot or cold.
Photography: Michael Hicks @Flickr