Kauai Soto Zen bon this weekend

Doors to the food and game booths of the Kauai Soto Zen Temple in Hanapepe open at 6 on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The opening also coincides with the memorial service in the Soto Zen Temple officiated by Rev. Roy Ryosho Kokuzo and marks the beginning of the bon celebration at the Zenshuji Temple.

Taiko Kauai prefaces the bon dancing with its presentation starting at 7 p.m. followed by dancing including special intermission performance featuring an Okinawa Eisa song and dance.

“It’s all about experiencing traditional Japanese-American culture like never before,” said Gerald Hirata, president of the Kauai Soto Zen Temple. “Obon is an important annual observance of Japanese tradition. Oshogatsu, or New Year’s Day, welcomes the new year while the Obon celebration starts the second half of the year.”

Hirata said his Buddhist upbringing taught him that ancestral spirits come home to visit with their family and feast together at Obon. Japanese customs, however, acquired new observances when Obon came to Hawaii, adding food booths and game booths which are now a vital part of the local festivities.

“I welcome everyone to take part and join in on the festivities,” Hirata said. 

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