Obon: Tradition

music
ambience: Buddhist chants and ringing bells

The Obon “Festival of the Dead” is one of the most important times of the year for Buddhists, with origins tracing back to 7th century Japan. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. For one week each summer, the souls of departed ancestors are believed to return to their homes. But rather than being a somber occasion, Obon is a festive celebration. Reverend Koyu Kybosco is a Buddhist priest in Chicago, Illinois.

“Obon is one of the major religious holidays and in Japan it’s also a cultural holiday. It’s a time to reflect on past loved ones mainly in your family that have gone before — and gratitude that you have received all the benefits from their lives. So it’s celebration with food and with dance.”

ambience: Buddhist Taiko drumming

The dances and the drumming that accompanies them, are performed in honor of the spirits, and traditionally red lanterns are hung in each Buddhist temple and town’s square to welcome them home. But Obon is also a time for reflection. Utaka Kawazoyu is a member of the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple in California.

“I think for me it’s a time to remember. My mother passed away like a year and a half a go, and it’s time to remember her and my father that passed away much before. I think we’re all so busy these days, we lead such hectic lives — and this gives us a time to say, ‘just slow down, remember, and think back on all that they’ve given us’.”

.Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

Obon: Tradition

Honoring one's ancestors is the starting point of a joyous annual celebration.
Air Date:08/24/2006
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Transcript:


music
ambience: Buddhist chants and ringing bells

The Obon "Festival of the Dead" is one of the most important times of the year for Buddhists, with origins tracing back to 7th century Japan. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. For one week each summer, the souls of departed ancestors are believed to return to their homes. But rather than being a somber occasion, Obon is a festive celebration. Reverend Koyu Kybosco is a Buddhist priest in Chicago, Illinois.

"Obon is one of the major religious holidays and in Japan it's also a cultural holiday. It's a time to reflect on past loved ones mainly in your family that have gone before -- and gratitude that you have received all the benefits from their lives. So it’s celebration with food and with dance."

ambience: Buddhist Taiko drumming

The dances and the drumming that accompanies them, are performed in honor of the spirits, and traditionally red lanterns are hung in each Buddhist temple and town's square to welcome them home. But Obon is also a time for reflection. Utaka Kawazoyu is a member of the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple in California.

"I think for me it’s a time to remember. My mother passed away like a year and a half a go, and it's time to remember her and my father that passed away much before. I think we’re all so busy these days, we lead such hectic lives -- and this gives us a time to say, 'just slow down, remember, and think back on all that they've given us'."

.Pulse of the Planet is presented with support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.