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Watch part of the Seattle Obon festival. See the beautiful costumes and dances.

Kyoto, Japan hosts a well-known festival called Gozan no Okuribi on the final day of Obon. Five giant bonfires are lit on mountains that surround the city. Okuribi roughly translates to “send-off fire” in Japanese. Three fires are designed to look like kanji characters. The other two fires are shaped like a boat and a gate. The character in this photo means “large.”

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Making Connections


What Bon tradition did you find most interesting? Please explain your answer.


Have you read any books about holidays that honor family members who have passedon? If so, how were they similar to or different from Bon?


Bon Odori dances tell the history of Japanese regions. What are other ways people present the history of places? How do you like to learn about history?

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