Irasshaimase! Derry-Londonderry will today, Saturday 6th June, 2015, become the first city in the UK and Ireland to host its very own traditional O-Bon Japanese festival.
O-Bon or just simply Bon is a Japanese Buddhist which to honour the spirits of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.
The festival is one of the most important festivals of the year in Japan. Organisers of today’s event which will take place at The Playtrail, Racecourse Road, say that, “at the heart of O-Bon we have family, food, dance and taiko drumming. The whole festival is a colourful feast of rhythm and lights.”
“At the heart of O-Bon we have family, food, dance and taiko drumming. The whole festival is a colourful feast of rhythm and lights.
“For three days in summer they celebrate their ancestors and their roots.”
The event is a wonderful opportunity for people from all backgrounds and experiences to celebrate an aspect of Japanese tradition, with activities for all ages. Organisers have promised traditional Japanese games, arts and craft workshops which will run throughout the evening along with a host of stage entertainment and cultural activities.
“We will have lively performances from Ibuki Taiko drummers, innovative dance collaborations from Fireworks DDTA and Create Dance, Japanese folk singing from the Inishowen Gospel Choir to name but a few. There will also be street theatre, face painting and an exhibition of manga art. There will even be the opportunity to taste Pyke ‘N’ Pommes street food and Japanese Wagyu beef burgers.”
The highlight of the festival will end with the lighting of hand crafted lanterns. Each person will have the opportunity to write a message or aspiration on the lanterns which will form a display of lights within the grounds of The Playtrail woods and amphitheatre.
Tickets are on sale from The Playtrail, The Diamond Centre, Claudy and online from We Get Tickets.