O-BON Japanese Festival, 6th June, Playtrail, Derry

The annual O-BON Japanese Festival will take place on Saturday June 6th.

‘Obon is a very important Japanese festival to honor the departed spirits of one’s ancestors. This festival in Japan has evolved into a family reunion during which people from the big cities return to their home towns to visit and pay respects to their ancestors’ graves. Traditionally including a Bon Odori

dance and taiko drumming festival, it has existed in Japan for more than 500 years. It usually takes place during the warmer summer months with different dates across different regions of Japan and has become popular in other parts of the world e.g. Hawaii and Australia.

A central part of the Obon festival is Toro Nagashi, where family and friends place a candle inside a paper lantern and float these lights down a river. This symbolizes the spirits’ journeys back to the world of the dead. As the light is extinguished, the soul is said to return to the spirit-world.

The Obon on the Foyle Festival Group is a constituted group set up in 2014 by a group of Japanophiles, taiko enthusiasts and local Japanese people. The central aim of this new group is to organise and create Obon on the Foyle ~ an annual outreach programme and festival to celebrate and promote Japanese culture and arts. The artistic vision of Obon on the Foyle is to create a unique and world class festival celebrating all things Japanese. It is both a proud celebration of culture and an ambitious attempt to create something totally new by combining the traditional with the modern.’

For more details, check out the O-BON Japanese Festival FB page here: O-BON

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