The BFF of Ct is doing a special Meetup field trip, lead by our Bell Master, Shoju (Steve), to the Obon Festival in New York City, on Sunday, July 14, 2013.
The Festival will take place between 12:00 P.M. and 5:00P.M. at Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue to New Yorkers), behind the New York Public Library. This annual event is sponsored by the New York Buddhist Church.
If you wish to attend, you can join the Field Trip group in front of the Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies in Middletown, Connecticut (where the BFF meets) at 9:15 a.m. There, the participants will figure out who would like to carpool and then will leave at 9:30 a,m. sharp.
If you can’t join the Field Trip group at the Mansfield Freeman Center, then you are welcome to meet up with the group at Bryant Park on the Sixth Avenue side near the fountain - Festivities start at 12:30.
If you wish to attend, and/or learn more about the event, RSVP Shoju; his e-mail is [masked]
Below is a little blurb from Wikipedia on Obon.
Obon (お盆?) or just Bon (盆?) is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor 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 "Bon season" is an important part of the present-day culture and life of Hawaii. Bon Odori festivals are also celebrated in North America, particularly by Japanese-Americans or Japanese-Canadians affiliated with Buddhist temples and organizations. Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) temples in the U.S. typically celebrate Bon Odori with both religious Obon observances and traditional Bon Odori dancing around a yagura. Many temples also concurrently hold a cultural and food bazaar providing a variety of cuisine and art, also to display features of Japanese culture and Japanese-American history. Performances of taiko by both amateur and professional groups have recently become a popular feature of Bon Odori festivals.Bon Odori festivals are usually scheduled anytime between July and September. Bon Odori melodies are also similar to those in Japan; for example, the dance Tanko Bushi from Kyushu is also performed in the U.S. In California, due to the diffusion of Japanese immigration, Bon Odori dances also differ from Northern to Southern California, and some are influenced by American culture, such as "Baseball Ondo".
Here is the Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival
This is a YouTube video on the festivities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzblwmdozPI