Ch 3 Shrine and Parade
Buddhism and Shinto
Buddhism is a major presence in the lives of Japanese people as it coexist with the rites of Shinto. Some people go to Shinto shrines to pray for happiness and a healthy life and some people will go to Buddhist temple to pray the well
being of ancestors in the afterlife. Even Though about 1% of people follow both religions at once, it is common to see certain rituals such as weddings conducted in a Shinto way and funerals conducted in a Buddhist way.
Obon Festival is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestor. It’s celebrated at different times in different regions in Japan. In some regions, it is celebrated on August 15th, and in other regions it is celebrated
on July 15th. Traditionally, people clean their house and place the favorite foods of the ancestor in front of an altar. It’s also a time when people visit the graves of their ancestor. A ritual cleaning with a special pail and ladle
is performed to remove dirt or debris from the grave stone. Even though, Obon festival has a dark imagery to it, it is a fun tradition to celebrate among family. One of the fun tradition within the festival is the Bon dances (ぼんおどり).
The dance traditionally takes place around a raised platform called a yagura where one perform sing or play a taiko drum(a traditional Japanese instrument). Today, there are still Bon dances that are performed for ritualistic purposes
rather than entertainment.