Dancing, Smiles, Unity at 63rd Obon Fest

July 28, 2008

Author: Cody Glenn

Source: The Daily Journal


Late in the evening, the lines between performers and onlookers vanished at the 63rd annual Obon Memorial Folk Dance Festival as the always-popular audience participation dance got under way.

More than 300 audience members, wearing T-shirts and shorts, left the safety of their lawn chairs Saturday evening to join performers in flowing yakutas, or summer kimonos, on the matted-down grass and dance as one.

"At least for one day everyone comes together and smiles," said Seabrook Buddhist Temple Assistant Minister Linda Shinchi Engstrom. "The energy is different out here for the entire day. It's hard to put into words."

Obon is a time to give thanks to generations past while remaining focused on the present.