If your Hawaii vacation is between June and August, this year or any year, don’t miss one of our favorite Hawaii festivals. Bon (or more technically Obon) dance takes place worldwide. This Japanese Buddhist tradition to honor the spirits of ancestors has been going on for over 500 years. The word “bon” (ぼん or 盆) means lantern the “o” (お) can be like an honorific. It can translate to mean The Lantern Festival or The Festival of the Dead and is a celebration of life. So find your cheap flights to Hawaii, then Bon Dance!
Bon Dance in Hawaii takes place during the summer months, which are considered to be when spirits of ancestors return to be with family and friends. At the end of Obon season, floating lanterns are put into rivers, lakes and seas in order to guide the spirits back into their world.
In Hawaii each of the islands has outdoor Bon Dance celebrations at the local Hongwanji’s (Buddhist temples). Everyone is invited to attend and take part in the festival. Enjoy watching the dance, listening to taiko drumming and seeing beautiful hanging lamps. Many dancers wear traditional kimonos but that is not a requirement. The circular dances take place around an outdoor yagura platform.
You’ll also find booths for traditional Japanese food, crafts and more.
Don’t be shy – come one come all and enjoy Bon Dance in Hawaii.
Bon Dance Oahu
You can find the Bon Dance Oahu schedule of events here. First event in 2019 started on June 1 at Hawaii Plantation Village and the final dance of the season will be on September 1 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Bon Dance Maui
You can find the Bon Dance Maui schedule of events here. First dance this season was on June 1 at Lahaina Shingon Mission and the concluding dance will take place on August 24 at the Kula Shofukuji Mission.
Bon Dance Kauai
The Kauai schedule for Bon Dance is found here. First Kauai Bon Dance was on May 31 in Hanapepe and the concluding dance will be on July 27 at Kapaa Hongwanji.
Bon Dance Big Island
The Big Island schedule for Bon Dance is found here. The first Big Island dance took place on May 25 at Hawaii Care Choices and the last event for this year will be on August 31 at the Honokaa Hongwanji Mission.
Bon Dance Lanai and Molokai
Both islands typically have one Bon Dance each.