Obon (Buddhism)

Obon (Buddhism): July 13th – 15th, 2016                                                                                                                     


In an effort to create more awareness about world faiths and philosophies, the Office of Internal Affairs and International Initiatives would like to notify campus community members about dates of significance within several world religions. This message relates to Obon which is observed July 13th-15th this year.

Obon, also referred to as “The Festival of the Souls,” is one of the most important Japanese traditions. Obon was originally celebrated around the 15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar. Obon periods are nowadays different in various regions of Japan.  Therefore, Obon is celebrated in some regions around August 15th and other regions around July 15th.  During Obon people believe that their ancestors’ spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family.  This is the time when people can pray for the spirits and guide and help their ancestors’ spirits to find peace.

During this festival period of 3 days, families hang lanterns outside their homes and beside the graves to welcome the souls home.  Japanese people also clean their homes and place a variety of food offerings such as vegetables and fruits in front of a butsudan (Buddhist altar) for their ancestors’ spirits.  Chochin lanterns and flower arrangements are also usually placed by the butsudan. During this period people also gather for outdoor dances known as Bon dance.

*This information was drawn directly from a variety of sources:




Prairie View A&M University acknowledges and embraces the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff. Due to the great number and diversity of viewpoints, this resource is not able to provide an exhaustive list of significant dates for all faith and philosophical traditions. Likewise, the practice of special dates may differ based on region, denomination or generational differences.