The Bon Dance, or Bon Odori, gives comfort to the spirits of the deceased and ensures their safe return to their world. Bon Odori emphasizes the dancers’ spirituality. It takes no technical skills or special clothes to participate. Anyone is welcomed to take part. Coming together in the dance circle naturally unites people, even perfect strangers, in a prayer for universal peace, the true aim of Bon Odori. Dancing opens people’s minds and prepares them to receive the energy to live on. Bon is a special opportunity to say “thank you” to those who gave us life. We should not forget that we exist because of our parents and the long line of ancestors who came before them. Bon is a time for family. It is a time to reflect upon the dead and the living. It is a time to find irreplaceable peace of mind that comes with the lighting of a candle and the offering of incense. During this coming Bon season, let us take the time to pray that all spirits throughout the cosmos find tranquility and that the world moves closer to everlasting peace.
Taiheiji’s Bon Dance
Typically held annually on the second Friday and Saturday in August, the Soto Mission of Aiea’s Bon Dance is perhaps the most festive event at Taiheiji. Hundreds upon hundreds of people come to Taiheiji to enjoy two evenings of dancing and food. Dancers form rings around the Bon Dance tower called the yagura and dance to both recorded music and live musicians.
The evening begins with an exciting performance by Hawaii Matsuri Taiko and Taiheiji’s own Somei Taiko Group. The Aiea Taiheiji Yagura Gumi which performs at several other Bon Dances each year, return for their homecoming at Taiheiji and play the popular Fukushima Ondo.
Okinawan Bon Dancing has gained tremendous popularity over the past two decades, and Taiheiji is happy to invite the Hawaii Eisa Shinyuu Kai each year to lead everyone in the unique and beautiful Okinawan Bon dances.