A Language Village


Japanese Lantern Lighting at Como Zoo

I challenge you to name something more serene and beautiful than colorfully encapsulated fire floating on water.  Give up?  Look no further than the Como Zoo for the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival, commonly referred to as Obon. As one of Japan’s most significant holidays, they believe the spirits of their ancestors pay them a visit at this time, usually in mid-August.  They welcome them with several offerings, and after visiting their graves, the lanterns are symbolically lit to mark their presence.  After a few days of close connections to the spirits, the lit lanterns are sent down the river for a final sendoff.

The unique nature of Japanese culture is shown (or shone, in this case) through the Obon celebration.   Several people came for a day filled with martial arts demonstrations, Japanese cuisine, and music.  I had a display but unfortunately did not have a canopy, so the wind was merciless with my materials.  I still managed to get rid of all of my brochures and fortune cookies.  The day culminated in the lantern lighting itself, which was beautiful.  None of the photos I took came out well, so I’ve “borrowed” these shots of typical Obon festivals.  Wonderful event!

Tomo Arigato,

Zvi Sensei

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