Across the Bay Area, Buddhists Celebrate Obon

July 8, 2005

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

On July 8, 2005 the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "From San Jose to Concord, Bay Area Buddhist churches... are gearing up for Obon, which honors one's ancestors, especially those who died in the past year. Graves are swept and memorial services held. But Obon (O- BOHN) is also festive, with dancers clad in cotton kimonos, or yutaka, and happi coats, circling a musicians' tower in graceful rhythm as taiko drums keep the beat. 'Last year, we had more than 700 dancers,' says the Rev. Gerald Sakamoto of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin in the heart of that city's Japantown. 'We feel like we're close to exceeding that this year.' Both the Berkeley and San Jose festivals kick off this weekend, signaling the start of the Obon season, which in Japan is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh or eighth month of the lunar year."