Summer, to me, means a few things.
Longer days spent at the beach, less traffic on the highway during rush hours, and the annual bon dances at temples around the state.
This annual Japanese Buddhist tradition — held between June and August — honors the spirits of family members who have passed away. According to tradition, it is believed the summer months are when ancestral spirits return to visit family and friends.
But that’s not why I go.
Like most local folks, I hit bon dances for the food. Teri beef skewers, cone sushi, fried noodles, andagi, saimin, grilled corn — this is easily my favorite part of any bon dance.
Truth be told, I’ve been going to bon dances since I was a kid, learning how to properly dance from my mom, who taught us odori for obon favorites like “Tanko Bushi” in our living room.
And since I grew up in Kalihi, we would often attend the lively bon dance at the Okinawan Jikoen Hongwanji Mission on the corner of Likelike Highway and School Street. It’s one of those bon dances where live musicians still play in the yagura (high wooden scaffold around which the dancers circle). No taped music here!
I go back to Jikoen every July — its bon dance is held this weekend — as part of my own summer tradition. My mom may not be there, but I take her moves with me. And her appetite.
Like mother, like daughter.
It's bon dance time!
This weekend’s bon dance schedule:
Jikeon Hongwanji Mission, 6 p.m., (808) 845-3422
Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission, 7:30 p.m., (808) 622-1429
Haleiwa Jodo Mission, 8 p.m., (808) 637-4382
For a complete list of bon dances this summer, visit Let’s Bon Dance.
very nice. oreo rice krispies –Yum! i wonder why the spirits decided on the summer months for a return visit?
It’s the best time of the year! That’s when I’d visit!
I’m still trying to figure out the “less traffic on the freeway during rush hour” part… which island were you referring to again? LOL!
You don’t think there’s less traffic…? Maybe coming from East Honolulu only…
Well, having had a home office since 2007, I never needed to go into town from HiKai during rush hours. As for traffic in general, I never noticed a seasonal change. What would you attribute less traffic during summer months to?
I think it’s more UH isn’t in session… Those are the extra cars on the road.
Happy shot = happy memories for me. As a child, going to a bon dance was the thing to do on summer weekends. I’d tag along with my older sisters. I have fond memories of the dances in Palama and on Sheridan street…packed crowds. I also remember going to a bon dance way out in Waimanalo (I think) in what appeared to be a cow field. We used to collect and treasure the bon odori signature towels that they gave out. Good times.
Thanks for sharing! I wonder if there’s still a bon dance in Waimanalo… I’ll check the schedule. Would be a cool bon dance to go to!
MaxMaxMax: I think she was referring to Kahoolawe. 😆 Sorry, but to me, “less traffic” means actually being able to drive at highway speeds. 🙂
LOL, Kahoolawe. Too funny!
Zinggggggg! Nice one Dio!
So nice to meet you last night! Thanks for the photo feature and the link up to BonDance.com. 🙂 Hope to see you again – next time in the bon dance circle! <3
Is that your site??? Cool beans! Nice to meet you IRL!