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Obon Festival (お盆)

It was "Risshu(立秋)" on August 8th - the beginning day of Autumn. It's been still extremely hot though. 

Today's theme is "Obon Festival(お盆)". 

Obon is a Japanese historical festival in summer for the worship of ancestors. It used to be around July 15 in lunar calender, but now it is around August 15 in solar calender.

kurumazaki2.jpg
(Reference:http://photo53.com/kurumazaki1.php)

During Obon, the Bon Lantern would be illuminated, for the spirit of ancestors and dead, not to get lost the way back home.  Also the fire called "Ogarabi(麻幹火)" is lighted to welcome the spirits and send them off.  Spirit will stay at home during Aug 14-15, then they will be back at night on 16. At that time, we make a fire called "Okuribi" to see them off. 

Mountain Bon Fire called "Gozan no Okuribi(五山の送り火)" aka "Daimonji(大文字)" - in Kyoto is the most famous "Okuribi". 

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(Reference:Wikipedia)

The custom that worship ancestors in summer has been continued since 8th century in Japan. Obon is said a fusion of Buddhism and  ancestor worship since ancient time. We want to keep the feeling to cherish our ancestors.