MINGLE: “Bon Festival” at Morikami

Photograph by CHINOTENSHI

Celebrate the 33rd annual Bon Festival at The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach from 4-9PM Saturday, August 14th.  The festival is inspired by Obon, Japan’s traditional three-day holiday honoring their ancestors and thanking them for the quality of life enjoyed by the living. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years is held every August at the Morikami museum.

Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering. Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this realm. Buddha instructed him to make offerings to the many Buddhist monks who had just completed their summer retreat, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The disciple did this and, thus, saw his mother’s release. He also began to see the true nature of her past unselfishness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him. The disciple, happy because of his mother’s release and grateful for his mother’s kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or “Bon Dance”, a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated. “Bon Festival.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 12 Aug. 2010.

The evening festivities include taiko drum performances, traditional Japanese folk dancing, and a street fair with games, American and Japanese food, and vendor booths. Guests can buy handcrafted lanterns ($10) to write a special message to deceased loved ones. The lighted lanterns are floated on Morikami pond.

The highlight of the evening will begin at sunset when Morikami Pond, surrounded by the beautiful Roji-en garden, will be transformed into a tranquil sea of lighted lanterns that, in accordance with Japanese custom, guide the departure of ancestors’ souls who have come for a brief visit among the living. A special fireworks display will cap the enchanting evening.

Tickets: $15 adults, $6 kids ages 4-17, free for museum members and kids ages 3 and younger. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is at 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. For more information call (561) 495-0233, or visit www.morikami.org.

While you’re there, check out Henry’s and try their Dragonberry Mojito.

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