Obon Matsuri (2017)
ALL ARE WELCOME
12:00pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri (Festival)
Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemeteries Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.
What is Obon?
“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
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.
Japanese-Canadian Graves at Ross Bay Cemetery
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 along with the Old Cemeteries Society in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.
The following is the scheduled program for Obon.
12:00 pm – Grave Washing
Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone at 12 (donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time) and then cleaning teams will be assembled to proceed with:
- Cleaning of gravestones
- Laying flowers and toys for children’s graves
- Preparing the Kakehashi Stone
2:30 pm – Obon Service
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 – Matsuri (Festival at Ross Bay Villa)
Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
Light refreshments (including Kakigōri) will be provided as a thank you for all the hard work in washing the graves and entertainment will include the Furusato Dancers and other activities.
Hope to see you there!
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