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Monday, August 1, 2011

Blue Mars Celebrates Obon Festival

Blue Mars continues its Summer Concert series with an Obon Festival! This week's party is held on Friday night at the usual time of 4pm PDT, however, this time the event will be in Ynaga's city of Tao Hua Yuan! Having the event there will allow Ynaga to create some special decorations including the traditional yagura (drum tower).

The Obon Festival is held in various times in the summer throughout the regions of Japan as well as in other countries with Japanese communities including Argentina, Brazil, China, Malaysia, the United States, and Canada. The festival is in honor of the contributions and sacrifices made by departed ancestors. The current focus of Obon is a return to hometowns, celebration of family, and honoring ancestors by taking care of their gravesites.

Obon is a summer festival, so participants often wear light cotton yukatas and enjoy summertime treats such as watermelon. Traditional music is played from the yagura, and participants perform regional dances around the tower. The conclusion of the 3-day festival is floating lanterns on the rivers as a symbolic way of lighting the paths of the ancestors. There are also fireworks displays.

In Blue Mars, we will celebrate with Japanese music selected and streamed to us by DJ Ilko. Ynaga and JamTuner are creating decorations and party favors including watermelon, lanterns, yukatas and the drum tower. Arzach has created three new colors of his kimono for ladies as well. All these will be available at the party on Friday. We will also offer BLU$ prizes for correct answers to Obon Trivia questions.

The main part of the party will be held in Tao Hua Yuan, but we may travel to Edo for fireworks and to display our glowing lanterns. Please prepare for the festival by downloading both Tao Hua Yuan and Edo for ease of participation.

We hope to see you Friday!

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