The New York Buddhist Church 64th Annual Obon Dance Festival

Obon, New York Buddhist Church, Buddhist traditions, ancestors, ancestor worship, Japan, NYC, Bryant Park, Bon Odori, matsuri, festivals

Each summer, in the Buddhist tradition of the Obon Dance Festival, the Japanese honor the memories of their ancestors.
The legend surrounding Obon dates back to the 6th century BC. Mokuren (also known as Mogallana or Maudgalyayana), a disciple of Buddha, feared his deceased mother was suffering among hungry ghosts. Buddha advised him to present an offering of food to the monks upon their return from a summer retreat on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Mokuren did so, his mother’s spirit was freed, and Mokuren danced with joy. As a result, it is customary to leave food out for one’s ancestors and to participate in the Bon Odori, or folk dance.

The New York Buddhist Church holds its annual Obon Dance Festival at Bryant Park, where people dress in yukata and dance to taiko drum music.

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