Hawaii Files Photo of the Day: August 6, 2022.
Summer is bon dance season in Hawaii.
“This Buddhist observance honoring the ancestors came to Hawai`i in the late 19th century with a large wave of Japanese immigrants. Obon is observed in Hawai`i during the summer months, when family members place flowers and food on the graves of ancestors and friends and recite the nembutsu, an expression of appreciation, before the family altar.
The centerpiece of the ceremony is the bon dance. It is believed that the first bon dances were performed in the fields where the immigrants labored, and in between houses on the plantation. Later dances were held in temple courtyards. As work schedules began to conform to the Western five-day week, bon dances began to be scheduled for weekends. ” – The Obon in Hawaii, Local Legacies , The Library of Congress, American Folk Life Center.
After more than two years of inactivity, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bon dances have returned to Hawaii. A regular summer tradition held at various Buddhist temples and churches throughout the islands, I was lucky enough to capture images of last night’s (August 5) bon dance celebration at the Shingon Mission of Hawaii temple located on Sheridan Street near the Keeaumoku MacDonald’s in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Bon dances are a tradition held each year to honor the life and ancestors of one’s family.
The bon dance got underway at 6pm last night. I stopped by and stayed for an hour taking photos with my trusty Google Pixel 4a smart phone as well as with an older Olympus 35mm camera (photos from that coming later). It is quite amazing how well the Pixel phone handles low level light photos on the fly without much making any fuss with multiple settings and stability issues I have to deal with on any number of the other cameras I own. I even shot several clips (which will be posted later) that will be edited together into a short-form video.
Enjoy the additional photos and slideshow provided below: