Obon, bon odori, New York Buddhist Church, NYC, Japan, Japanese traditions, Bryant Park, Buddhism, ancestors

70th Annual Obon Dance Festival 🗓 🗺

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70th Annual Obon Dance Festival

Sunday, July 14 from 12:45 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Bryant Park – 42nd Street and 6th Avenue

Admission: Free

The New York Buddhist Church presents the 70th annual Obon Dance Festival at Bryant Park. Honor your ancestors through dance with NYBC members and performances by taiko drumming sensation Soh Daiko and the Tachibana Dance Group.

In the Buddhist observance of Obon, the Japanese welcome the souls of their ancestors back home. The legend surrounding Obon involves Mokuren, a disciple of Buddha, who was worried that 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, to light lanterns (or “obon” in Japanese), and to participate in the Bon Odori, or folk dance.

Obon, bon odori, New York Buddhist Church, NYC, Japan, Japanese traditions, Bryant Park, Buddhism, ancestors

Tentative Obon Program

  • 12:45 p.m. Soh Daiko
  • 1:00 p.m. Opening Remarks
  • 1:20 p.m. Obon Dance Part I
  • 2:10 p.m. Messages
  • 2:30 p.m. Tachibana Dance Group
  • 2:45 p.m. Obon Dance Part II
  • 3:30 p.m. Soh Daiko
  • 4:15 p.m. Obon Dance Part III
  • 4:50 p.m. Closing Message

Guests can also learn the art of paper folding at an Origami Workshop. This is a family friendly event, and NYBC welcomes everyone to attend and join the dance!

If you are interested in learning how to dance Bon Odori, there are three remaining practices:  Tuesday, July 2, Tuesday, July 9, and Thursday, July 11. The practices take place at the New York Buddhist Church at 331-332 Riverside Drive (between 105 and 106 Streets). The nearest subway stop is the 1 line at 103 Street. No prior dance experience required.

For more information, please visit NYBC’s website.