The summer Bon Odori festival has been celebrated in Japan for at least 13 centuries. Originally a Buddhist celebration, Bon is also celebrated in more or less secular form in many American communities, chiefly on the west coast and in Hawaii.
Our Bon Odori celebration is in its 33rd and, perhaps, last year. Originally, BON refers to the Buddhist observance of O-BON, a time when the souls of our ancestors visit their living descendants. They are greeted with song and dance — ODORI is the dance celebration, traditional folk dances joined in by the living and their departed ancestors in joy and celebration.
The dance steps depict human activities, like mining, or fishing, and the beauty of beloved landscapes. The dances are composed of simple, repetitive motions, easily learned — all are invited to participate in the celebration.
A generation in Olympia has grown up with this tradition helping them track the passage of time and connecting with those who came before.
This year we honor those who came before us in the community, including the Sato family, the Uminos, Liddells, Owadas, Matsumotos, and many more. Gassho.
5:00 pm SALES & FOOD BOOTHS OPEN
PRE-DANCE COMMUNITY DEMONSTRATIONS introduced by M.C. Aaron Owado
5:30 – 5:50 pm Aikido of Olympia
6:00 – 6:15 pm Karate: Pacific NW Ryuhou Kan Dojo
6:15 – 6:55 pm Okinawa Kenjin Kai Taiko
7:00 pm FORMAL GREETINGS Reiko Callner, Olympia JACL
7:05 pm DANCING BEGINS – ALL JOIN IN
Mikokoro Ondo — prayer dance
Tanko Bushi — coal miner’s dance
Hanano Bon Odori — flower dance with fans
Oyama Ondo — hand dance
Sakura Ondo — Sakura Ondo — cherry blossom dance
Shiawase Samba — samba style dance
7:45 pm BREAK — NORTHWEST TAIKO concert
Soran Bush — fisherman’s dance
Hiroshima Ondo — dance from Hiroshima
Gosho Ondo — Meiji era dance
Yashiro Ondo — sister city dance
Samisen Slide — line dance with tanegui
Hanabi Ondo — fireworks song with lit rings
9:00 pm Luminary Peace Procession and song
Dancers from Tacoma, White River, and Seattle
Procession of the Species Art Studio
Our many wonderful volunteers
Whether we can continue this event in the future really depends on whether we can muster enough financial and volunteer support. To help, please go to our Facebook page, “JACL Olympia” i.e. facebook.com/JACLOlympia/ or donate at gofundme.com/xqwvh9-olympia-bon-odori-fundraiser
Donations are tax deductible.