NEW YORK, June 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York Buddhist Church (NYBC) is pleased to announce that its annual Obon festival, the Japanese Buddhist tradition of honoring the spirits of ancestors, will be held virtually this year. It will feature online celebratory Obon dances and taiko drumming performances, fashion, food, and origami demonstrations, and an interactive fan decorating workshop on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10, and a special memorial Obon/Hatsubon church service on Sunday, July 11.
The theme of this year's online Obon festival, held in past years in Bryant Park, is "A Joyous Remembrance," according to Rev. Earl Ikeda, NYBC resident minister who noted that last year because of Covid-19 the church was forced to cancel the festival entirely.
"This year, as we begin to slowly resume our usual activities and against the backdrop of the pandemic, we really felt the need to celebrate Obon joyously, and remember and honor all of our loved ones who have passed away, along with the hundreds of thousands who have perished from this terrible virus," Rev. Ikeda said. "Although we are still unable to gather in Bryant Park in large numbers, we decided to go ahead with an online festival that would bring people together virtually to re-create the happy festival of Obon, which we wish to share with the New York broader community and beyond."
The NYBC's online Obon festival demonstrations and events will stream on the church's Facebook and YouTube channels, with links on www.newyorkbuddhistchurch.org, on the following dates:
Friday, July 9, 7 p.m. EST: "Obon History and Recollections" with Rev. Earl Ikeda, NYBC Resident Minister, and Hoshina Seki, president, American Buddhist Study Center, and "Obon Fashion and Accessories" with Yukiko Sato;
Friday, July 9, 7:30 p.m. EST: "Decorate your own Uchiwa (hand fan) workshop" with Mikio Sakai;
Saturday, July 10, 7 p.m. EST: "Traditional Obon Dances" with Sahotae Tachibana of the New York Tachibana Dance School, "Soh Daiko Performances" with traditional Obon festival taiko drumming, "Origami Creations" with Mariko Kato, and "Okonomiyaki Cooking Demonstration" with NYBC Caretaker Karl Palma;
Sunday, July 11, 11:30 a.m. EST: "Special Memorial Obon/Hatsubon Church Service" led by Rev. Earl Ikeda, NYBC Resident Minister, joined by Rev. Cheryl Joko Ikemiya and Rev. Isabelle Shinjo Bernard.
Except for the interactive Uchiwa hand fan workshop, all of the NYBC Obon festival virtual events will be free of charge. Suggested donations will help support this fundraising effort.