By Debby Abe
Carrying on a decades-long tradition, the Tacoma Buddhist Temple will host its annual Bon Odori Japanese Folk Dance Festival on Saturday, July 30.
The popular street fest features dancers in colorful kimonos and cotton yukatas performing communal dances in front of the temple. Everyone is welcome to participate. Just jump into the circle, follow the more experienced members and don’t worry about doing it perfectly.
Beyond the dancing and drumming, there will be activities for kids and food offerings for all ages. The menu includes teriyaki chicken and unagi (eel) rice bowls, mochi (sweet rice) pastries, cold somen noodles, grilled corn on the cob, Spam musubi rice balls and other delicacies. New this year: Masayo’s Tofu Rice Bowl, a traditional dish of seasoned tofu on a bed of rice.
Visitors 21 and older can enjoy a beer garden.
The celebration derives from the Buddhist Ullambana Festival, a time to welcome the return of one’s ancestors, with an emphasis on loved ones lost in the previous year. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, this festival is also known as Obon and Kangi-E, the gathering of joy. It centers on dancing, food, togetherness and appreciating the lives of those whom we have lost and our own present lives.
The free event includes a brief Obon service at 5 p.m., and ends with a candlelight ceremony in the temple garden at 9 p.m.
Tacoma Bon Odori 2016: A Japanese Folk Dance Festival
Saturday, July 30, 2016
4:30–9 p.m. Taiko drumming at 5:15; dancing starts at 5:30.
Tacoma Buddhist Temple
1717 South Fawcett Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98402
Located 3 blocks up from UW Tacoma campus
Booths open at 4:30 p.m. Menu items $2 to $10. Cash and credit cards accepted.