Date: 21st July 2012
Organizer: The Consulate of Japan, Penang State Tourism Development & Culture and Bon Odori Committee
Location: Esplanade, Penang
Bon Odori Festival is a Japanese Buddhist observance honouring the spirits of ancestors, who return once a year to visit their families. Traditional dance is performed to entertain the spirits of the ancestors.
The Star Online
By CATHERINE CHONG
Tuesday July 21, 2009
THE Esplanade field in Penang was transformed into a carnival ground when a 50,000-strong crowd of revellers converged to celebrate the Bon Odori Festival with their Japanese counterparts on Saturday.
It was interesting to see all things Japanese here especially the ladies in their beautiful yukata (summer kimono) and the gentlemen in happi coats (short robes worn with shorts or pants).
Dance of gratitude: Locals join the Japanese expatriate community in celebrating Bon Odori, a festival to honour one's ancestors.
Dancing the way to Bon-ding: Bon Odori brings the people together in celebrating the Japanese way.
The final performance was by the Nippon Minyo Kenkyukai from Hamamatsu City, one of the biggest Japanese traditional folk dance study associations.
The dancers enthralled the audience with Hokkai Bon-Uta, Dom-Pam Bushi,Chakkiri-Bushi (which was about the famous tea growing district of Shizuoka Perfecture) and Haru-Koma performances.
A five-minute fireworks display marked a dazzling end to the five-hour festival.
Bon Odori, a Japanese custom to honour the spirits of one’s ancestors, has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years.
And Penang was one of two major sites in Malaysia to host the celebrations.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the social harmony displayed through such culture was what made Penang unique and George Town recognised as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Lim also said there were 1,655 Japanese residing in Penang and of the total 214 Japanese companies operating in the five northern states of Malaysia, 129 were located in Penang.
Also present were Consul-General of Japan Hideaki Hoshi, state Tourism Development, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang and Public Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng.