Dance theAt the end of a hot summer day in sleepy Haleiwa, families gather for picnics near the beach. Some stop at carnival-style food booths for nourishment or a cool treat.
Haleiwa Jodo Mission
bon dance video
ONLINE VIDEO REPORT
Celebrating the Obon
Bon Dance Bonds
By Dean Sensui
and Blaine Fergerstrom
It is all in preparation for the night ahead ...a night of dancing and remembrance.
It is bon dance night at the Haleiwa Jodo Mission, a Buddhist church on the beach next to Haleiwa Beach Park.
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People gather from far and wide to join in the merriment.
[Bon dance video footage.]
After hours of dancing to live and recorded music, attention shifts to the lanterns.
During the evening, church volunteers deliver paper lanterns to those who have ordered them.
The lanterns all bear the name of a deceased family member or friend and are lit by candle.
Edmund Kellett of Kailua has been coming to the Haleiwa Jodo Mission bon dance for 10 years.
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BON DANCE THIS WEEKEND
Interview, Edmund Kellett:
Starbulletin.com: Who are the lanterns for?
Kellett: My father, my aunt and my other aunt.
SB: Do you do this every year?
EK: Last 10 years, yeah.
SB: (Do) You live on this side (Haleiwa)?
EK: Kaneohe side...
SB: And you come all the way over here for this?
EK: Well, it's the only place they float lanterns, huh?
SB: They do one down on the Ala Wai (Canal in Waikiki).
EK: Oh yeah, in the Ala Wai, but I don't want to put them (the lanterns) in the Ala Wai!
EK: Oh, this is for my father-in-law, and his brother...
EK: We're doing seven this year. Usually four or five, but seven this year...
The lanterns will be floated out to sea in a ceremony called "Toro Nagashi."
At the appointed moment, temple priests lead a procession from the church to the beach.
The procession is followed by a boat bearing a large lantern. The boat is floated to lead the procession of lanterns out to sea.
A priest lights the lanterns of a chosen church member. Another church member helps to float them.
Everyone else then joins in floating their lanterns, remembering departed loved ones as they do.
One by one, hundreds, thousands of lanterns join the flotilla of souls.
Then everyone pauses quietly on the beach to watch and remember.
Though thousands of people line the beach, only the sound of the water lapping the shore and an occasional child's voice can be heard.
This is Blaine Fergerstrom reporting for Starbulletin.com