2014 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 10th

2014 Obon Matsuri

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone
Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

4th Annual Obon Festival @ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri
Cost: FREE


Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemetery Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori. – from Wikipedia

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

2011 Obon - washing the stone
Tsugio Kurushima and Grace Yuki Mercer wash a stone together at Obon 2011

The following is the scheduled program for Obon 2014 on Sunday, August 10, 2014

12:30 pm
Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone and then cleaning teams will be assembled.
Cleaning of gravestones
Laying flowers and senko (incense)
Preparing the Kakehashi Stone
Donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time.

2:30 pm
Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm
Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
3:50pm – Rina El-Nahas will perform traditional (minyo) folk songs
4:10pm – The Furusato Dancers will perform the Morioka Sansa Odori follwed by Wonderful Canada and finish with Aigato Ondo (with audience participation)
4:30pm – Suikawari (Japanese watermelon game for the kids)
4:55pm – Uminari Taiko will perform the Language of the Workd/Hachijo followed by Oedo and concluding with Korekara
Light refreshments will be provided.

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm
Ross Bay Villa website – http://rossbayvilla.org/