Category Archives: Festivals

COVID-19 stops the music for obon

The local summertime tradition of the bon dance in Japan, with its crowds of people eating chow fun and shave ice and talking story while watching dancers move rhythmically to the beat of the taiko drum, will be missing this year because of COVID-19.

With outdoor gatherings limited to 100 people and social distancing rules still in place, Buddhist temples that hold the obon festivals — traditionally a time to remember ancestors who have passed — say there will be no dancing, no large temple gatherings and no walk-up food sales, which can attract hordes of people waiting in line.

The festivals are also fundraisers for the temples and related organizations, such as judo clubs and Scouting programs.

It’s the same at Makawao Hongwanji, where the Rev. Kerry Kiyohara of Makawao Hongwanji Mission said he cut his cable TV subscription to save money, noting he doesn’t watch TV anyway. Electricity use is also down, thankfully, since there have not been many gatherings at the temple.

With obon canceled, Kiyohara said affiliate organizations, such as the Scouts and the Judo Club, will miss out on the opportunity to raise funds this year, though donations can be made to those groups via

But the real hit to the Makawao temple is the loss of its annual garage sale that happens on the Fourth of July weekend along with the annual Makawao Rodeo and parade. Those events have been canceled due to the pandemic.

Kitagawa’s Wailuku temple is also thinking about food sales to coincide with its family services in August.

While there will be no dancing or socializing, temples across Maui will still hold services associated with obon. They are called Hatsubon memorial services and are for families who are marking the first obon since the passing of a loved one. The ceremony has special meaning in the Jodo Shinshu tradition and normally precedes the dancing at temples.

Makawao, Kahului and Wailuku Hongwanji, as well as Kahului, Lahaina and Wailuku Jodo Missions and Paia Mantokuji Soto Zen Mission all plan to have Hatsubon services for families.

Members should check with their temple on times as well as whether services will be livestreamed online or if private in-person services will be available.

Wailuku Hongwanji minister, the Rev. Shinkai Murakami, said he will stagger times at his mission to allow the Hatsubon services to meet social distancing guidelines.

Summer music festival: A time of passion

In the summer, adventures suddenly come. On the journey to discover new lands, sometimes, music is a companion, sometimes a destination. Music festivals such as a magnet attracting all “believers” in the world refer to a relationship, every year, every year is as passionate as any year. There are thousands of summer music festivals in the world, especially big festivals like Ultra Music Festival, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Okeechobee … people have to buy tickets early until half a year to be sure to participate.
The outsider looked at why some people had to go halfway around the Earth just to mingle with a hysterical crowd, dance and scream incessantly in ear-splitting music. But life is very balanced, there are people who like to stay at home reading, listening to music without words, then there must be people who like to step outside, enjoy the great sound and break all the distance with them. people.

Music has a strange ability to connect. People do not need to talk to each other, do not need to know each other’s name, do not need to come from the same country, just “burn” all their own to follow a music, shouting the name of an artist, that means having the same gu, same hobby, same sympathetic rope; That means people are close to each other from instinct even when they haven’t met.

The heat of the sun (or the limelight) and the heat of hundreds of people make the air thicken, the cells are burned, the blood vessels burst into each bass, but the nerves relax. , cool water-like melodies bath the soul. Everything is put aside, now is the time of music!

Since ancient times, people have gathered together to enjoy music. The phrase “festival” first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century, originating from the “feast” (party) usually held in the harvest. Music has played an important role at such mass cultural gatherings.

Earlier, from the 6th century BC, Pythian Games in Delphi, Ancient Greece was probably the first example of music-related festivals. Pythian Games, the forerunner of the Olympics, includes performances of dance, art and music, held to honor the god of music Apollo. Celtic and Gaelic cultures held cultural fairs 1000 years ago, named Mods in Scotland and Feis in Ireland, in which lively music-based dance competitions were the main content.

In 1952, Rhode Island held the Newport Jazz Music Festival attracted 13,000 participants and was considered the beginning of a long history of festival culture in the United States. Along with the development of musical genres, summer festivals are also associated with many different political and subcultural events. From Jazz, Pop, Rock, EDM … to hippie or indie sounds, music festivals can please all believers, while marking the prevailing trends of the era.

Why do music festivals usually take place in the summer? If in the past, this was a respite after the Winter-Spring harvest, nowadays, Summer is associated with trips. Summer is a great time to organize outdoor activities. After a gloomy winter and lazy Spring, after heavy snow and persistent drizzles, one must go to the mountains to the sea, plunge into the crowd on sunny days, wearing clothes It’s cool to enjoy this youthful atmosphere.

Music festivals are not only a place for artists to show their talents in front of audiences around the world but also a combination of many activities: camping, food, art exhibitions, cultural exchanges, Light shows, team games, pool parties … take place over many days, over a large area of ​​thousands of square meters. All create a vibrant, bustling space, blazing with passion and full of life that many people want to experience once in their lives.