Monday, July 13, 2015

obon

diana and her friend, fellow girl scout cadette taryn, volunteered at ekoji temple's obon festival this weekend. because they were to be there for several hours, i took the opportunity to explore and sit quietly and eat and soak in the festival preparations and activities.


these lanterns were strung attractively all over the grounds

all signed in, adorned with badges and fans, awaiting the beginning of their shift
i am not familiar with the shin denomination of buddhism, having practiced zen in st. louis and shambhala in davis, ca, yet i felt comfortable and welcome on the grounds and within the community. in keeping with the festival's purpose, i placed memorial candles in the garden for those family members who have recently passed, sheldon and my uncle paul. i sat in the shade and listened to the aloha boys, whom i had first heard at a ukulele festival a couple of years ago. i stood in line to purchase a feast of festival foods: bento boxes of chicken teriyaki, bowls of chicken curry and gyudon, a delicious cold noodle salad called japchae, and butter mochi. the girls were volunteering in a different food area, preparing orders of yakitori, hot dogs, somen, and watermelon for hungry festival attendees. i chatted with some older women who were also new to this temple and marveled at the beautiful kimono and yukata worn by many women and children, and even by some men.

processional

prepping buns for hot dogs

adding sauce to somen

dancing

more dancing

when the girls were finished with their shift, we watched the obon dances (the girls even participated a little bit, as all were invited to do so) and diana shopped (of course she did - and found the perfect new thing to collect - tiny cat charms) and we listened to the powerful percussion of nen daiko.

these tired but happy girls are planning on volunteering next year for certain!

i know the woman in the middle - she's new and she rocks it!



we did not stay for the kimono fashion show, nor the ceremony after the lighting of the memorial candles, but i hope to next year. we are definitely, definitely coming back.

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