O-Bon (お盆) – Festival of the Dead

O-Bon 2019 is currently underway after starting this morning. It officially starts today (August, 13th) and will run until the 15th.

This is a very traditional festival that is usually held in August. It is observed nationwide and a very important time of the year in Japan.

Buddhist tradition dictates this is the day the dead return to earth to visit their relatives.

Lanterns are hung outside homes and offerings to the spirits are made. In the evening, people float the lanterns on the river to help guide the deceased back to their resting place.

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Common practice also sees Japanese families visit graveyards across the country to visit family graves. This serves two purposes – firstly to honour their ancestors and secondly to also do some cleaning around the graves which is important for the living members of each family.