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2019 - 7th Annual Philadelphia Obon Festival - Taiko, Tea Ceremony, Games, Crafts, Dance (Saturday)Newly Listed

SELECT DISTINCT e.PkID, e.Title, e.StartDate, e.StartTime, e.EndTime, e.TBD, e.Description, e.LocID, l.Name, l.Lat, l.Lon, e.SeriesID FROM hc_events e LEFT JOIN hc_locations l ON (e.LocID = l.PkID) WHERE (e.SeriesID = '1173' OR e.LocID = '1173') AND e.IsActive = 1 AND e.IsApproved = 1 AND e.StartDate >= '2020-07-13' ORDER BY e.Title, e.StartDate, e.TBD, e.StartTime
Date: Saturday, 24 August, 2019       Time: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
Lansdowne Dr and Horticultural Dr.
Philadelphia, PA 19131

Phone: (215) 878-5097
Website: Click to Visit

The Annual Philadelphia Obon Festival is a Japanese celebration of one’s ancestors. Each August, people return to their hometowns to remember the dead and reunite with loved ones. Obon is celebrated with festivities, especially dances called bon odori. These bon odori vary from place to place giving each Obon celebration a distinctive flavor.

On August 25, Shofuso will host Philadelphia’s 7th Annual Obon celebration. The festivities will include the eponymous dances led by dancers from the IchiFuji-kai Dance Association, taiko drumming by Kyo Daiko, tea ceremony demonstrations by Urasenke Philadelphia, traditional games, arts & crafts, as well as food trucks and a flea market and gift shop with vendors selling traditional goods. Join us for a day of celebration outside the gates of Shofuso. All events are free and open to the public. In the event of inclement weather, Obon will be rescheduled to Monday, June 17.


Festivals in the summer are as ubiquitous as warm weather, and nearly every culture has a major celebration that you can take part in while wearing shorts. In Japan, Obon is a festival that combines spiritualism with communal fun. It is a three day festival based on the Buddhist belief that ancestors’ spirits visit the world of the living. The story goes that a disciple of the Buddha managed to see the spirit of his deceased mother, and saw that she was suffering. He then asked the Buddha what he could do, and was told to make offerings to Buddhist monks on the fifteenth day of the seventh month to relieve her suffering. The disciple did so and was successful, and he danced with joy to celebrate, which formed the basis of the “Bon Odori” or “Bon Dance.”

In Japan, during either July or August, people return to hometowns or ancestral homes, and hang up lanterns so that the spirits can find where they are going. During the day, people attend carnival-like events, and there is traditionally a community-specific Bon dance. At the end of the festival, lanterns are sent down rivers and streams to help guide the spirits back to the spirit world. People can be seen wearing “yukata,” a casual summer kimono at Obon, as it is cooler than other kimono. However, each community’s festival is unique in different ways. Typically, the dances themselves differ from each other, as the dance is meant to represent that specific community, but other aspects of the festivals can be unique as well. These can range from the music played to the features of a given location to the length of the celebration itself.

The 2019 Philadelphia Obon Festival will take place on Saturday, August 24th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please come out and join us!


Philadelphia Obon Festival Date
August 24, 2019 - Obon Celebration

If weather doesn’t permit it will be moved to August 25, 2019

Philadelphia Obon Festival Time
11:00 am - 5:00 pm


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Celebrate the Japanese Culture food, performances and dancing.
(Please always confirm date & times, the schedule could change)


Philadelphia Obon Location
Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. Lansdowne Dr and Horticultural Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19131

Philadelphia Obon Title
Shofuso will Host Annual Philadelphia Obon Festival - Taiko, Tea Ceremony, Games, Crafts, Dance


Philadelphia Obon Sponsor
Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia

Saturday, 24 August, 2019

Event/Festival Contact

Philadelphia Shofuso Japanese House & Garden

Phone: (215) 878-5097
Website: Click to Visit

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