Colombo celebrates Bon Odori 2011
The Japanese embassy together with the Japanese Solidarity
Association of Sri Lanka, and the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association
of Sri Lanka (JAGAAS) recently got together to celebrate Bon Odori - the
Japanese Summer Festival - in high spirit of joy and friendship bringing
a bit of Japan to the heart of Colombo.
Nihonbashi team at Bon Odori
With the word 'Bon' meaning welcoming ancestors' souls and holding a
memorial service for the souls, Bon Odori is a traditional summer
holiday to honour the spirits of one's deceased ancestors where it later
evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to
their hometowns and visit their ancestors' graves.
This custom has been popular in Japan for over 500 years and people
traditionally organize Bon Odori in several communities all over Japan
in the summer.
The style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region
where each region has its own local Bon Odori dancing to traditional
Japanese music, while enjoying various Japanese sweetmeats and
assortment of snacks. The music played is cheerful to welcome the
ancestors' souls into a happy environment and the 'Bon Dance' is held at
night with the belief that the ancestors' souls come in the night.
Each year, Bon Odori gives visitors a true glimpse to the exuberance
and high spirits of the duty bounded Japanese community.
The summer kimono or yukata worn by many Japanese at the event adds
colour with cheerful air of music and many varieties of Japanese
delicacies and cuisine offered by the premier Japanese restaurants
Nihonbashi and Ginza Housen.
The highlight of the night was the centre stage where the drumming
and dancing took place. The manner in which the Wadaiko - Japanese drum
- was played is very attractive to watch and children got on stage
eagerly to dance to their favorite Japanese cartoon songs, such as the
theme songs of Maruko and Anpanman.
This year, in remembrance of the victims of the tragic events back in
March that swept across Japan, visitors were invited to purchase charity
stickers and t-shirts sending "Love From Lanka".