Kapaa Bon Dances – June 9th and 10th
Summer is Bon Dance season at the island’s six Buddhist Temples, with the first performance on the Royal Coconut Coast at the Kapaa Hongwanji. Bon dances are communal folk dances associated with the Bon Festival, a Buddhist summer ceremony in which the spirits of departed ancestors are welcomed back to the world of the living for their annual visit. A national custom in Japan by the Edo period, bon festivals became a big part of Japanese immigrant life in the continental United States and Hawai’i before World War II. They continue today across Hawaii. On Kauai the season spans from the first performance at the Kapaa Honwanji on June 9th and 10th and to the last performance at the Waimea Higashi Hongwanji on July 28th and 29th. A full list of performances and the song list are found here: https://kauaibuddhistcouncil.org/
Visitors enjoying the performance will find dancers in bright kimono and a broad display of Japanese lanterns. Typically, food booths are nearby. Joining in the dancing is allowed. Read this article in “Hawaii Magazine” describing how the experience unfolds.
Photo courtesy of Kapaa Hongwanji. Information resource: Densho Encyclopedia