August 17, 2022
In Japan, the period around August 13 to 15 is a long break known as the Obon holiday. Obon was originally an event for people to worship their ancestors. In traditional households, fires are lit to guide one’s ancestral spirits back to the physical world and send them to the afterworld at the end of the period. Obon is celebrated in August in many regions of Japan. But there are also places, such as Hamamatsu, where Obon occurs in July. A special memorial ceremony called Enshu Dainenbutsu is also held in these places. Enshu Dainenbutsu began as a ceremony to mourn the soldiers who died during the Battle of Mikatagahara in 1573. During this ceremony, up to 30 people chant Buddhist prayers and poems with Utamakura, a form of Japanese poetry that associates emotions with specific places.