HomeJapanese AmericanObon Festival Returns to San Jose

Obon Festival Returns to San Jose

San Jose’s Obon Festival was back in person this past weekend.

The community referred to the weekend festival as “Back to Obon.” It began at noon each day on July 9 and 10, according to Mercury News. Obon is a Japanese Buddhist festival that honors the dead. It will take place in Japan from August 13-15.

San Jose’s Obon festival has been a staple of the Japanese American and Asian American communities for years. However, in 2020 and 2021 the festival did not take place in person because of the pandemic.

“We don’t do this a whole lot, so being able to do this once a year is really nice to come together with everyone and be able to celebrate,” Ashley MacDonald, a fourth-generation Japanese American who dances in the festival, told ABC 7 Bay Area.

This year’s festival included dances, game booths, traditional Japanese food and taiko performances. According to Mercury News, some booths at the festival took credit cards to prevent large lines and crowds as COVID-19 persists.

Some festival-goers reflected on the recent assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo ABE. They were shocked to hear of an assassination in a country where gun violence is rare.

“I was feeling like that is impossible. Never heard of that kind of thing in Japan,” festival-goer Huaino Hung told ABC 7 Bay Area.

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