Key Words & Phrases


・Bon / Bon festival(お盆)
・this world(この世・現世)
・grave visit(墓参り) 
・Buddhist altar(仏壇)
・spirit tablet(位牌)
・in life(生前)
・welcome fire(迎え火)
・chochin lantern(提灯)
・make an offering to(~にお供え物をする)


・a series of(一連の~)
・take place(行われる・開催される)
・family occasion(家族行事)
・temporarily closed(一時的に休業する)
・family gathering(家族の集まり)
・as an alternative to(~の代用として)


What’s Obon?(お盆とは?)

・Obon is one of the buddhist events. In Buddhism, it is believed that the spirits of family ancestors come back to this world during the obon period between July and August, and a series of events take place to commemorate them.
・Obon is regarded as one of the most important family occasions of the year in Japan.
・Although obon is not an official holiday, many offices are temporarily closed for business during this period. Due to this measure, many employees can easily plan and go back to their hometowns for family gatherings.

How do people prepare for obon?(どうやってお盆の準備をするの?)

・People visit and clean up their ancestors’ graves before the obon period starts.
・They also set up a special table called “shoryo-dana” at home in front of a Buddhist altar.
・Generally, spirit tablets are set on the table with some food, flowers and the ancestors’ favorite things in life as it is believed that their spirits stay with them during obon.
・In some areas, people place a handmade cucumber horse and an eggplant cow on the table. They are regarded as a vessel for the spirits to travel between this world and afterlife.

What do people do during Obon?(お盆には何をするの?)

・A small fire is lit in front of the home entrance to welcome the spirits on the first day of obon. Some people place a chochin lantern as an alternative to fire. 
・During obon, family members make offerings of food, flowers and sweets to the shoryo-dana.
・On the last day, a fire is lit again to send the spirits to afterlife.





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