Last Sunday, Brittany invited us all to the Obon Festival in St. Paul. I had never heard of there being a Japanese festival in St. Paul, but Brittany says they do it every year in Como Park. I was really excited to check it out, since I never got to go to Obon in Japan. I think they do it in St. Paul because it is Nagasaki’s sister city and they have a pretty close relationship. That’s interesting because St. Paul is the city I was born in, and Nagasaki is the city I lived in when I was in Japan. The festival itself had a lot of food carts with authentic Japanese food, performances, and informative booths. The whole event reminded me a lot of the International Folk Fair (except only just Japanese stuff this time). I think it would be fun to work at one of the booths.
There was a Japanese garden, too. Here are some pics from inside.
The main part of Obon is the lantern lighting. They light several paper lanterns and set them down in the water. They then float downstream, symbolizing the souls of ancestors returning to the world of the dead. Unfortunately there was no bon-dori dance or fireworks, but the lantern display was very beautiful.