In conjunction with 36th Bon Odori 2012 which will be held in Matsusita Stadium, Shah Alam on 14/07/2012 (this Saturday), I dedicate this special post to feature my personal recollection for Bon Odori Festival attended in 2010 and 2011.
Bon Odori means Bon dance performed during Obon, a time in which, a disciple of Buddha made offerings to the Buddhist monk to get the release of his mother from the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts.In Japan, since each region has a local dance and music, the Bon dance will be different from region to region. The participants of Obon usually wear yukata or light cotton kimonos.
In Malaysia, Bon Odori Festivals are celebrated every year in Penang and at the Matsushita Corp Stadium in Shah Alam, Selangor. Thousands of Malaysians fleet the venues in colourful yukata and foldable fixed hand fan. The celebration is the brain child of the Japanese Expatriate & Immigrants Society in Malaysia. Although the origins of Bon Odori are associated with the spirits of the dead and whatnots, the sole intention in the celebration in Malaysia is to expose locals to Japanese culture and provide the experience of a variety Japanese food, art, music and dance.
Standard yukata consists of a cotton undergarment, yukata, obi, bare feet, sandals, a foldable or fixed hand fan and a carry bag. For the men, optional hat may be worn to protect the head from the sun.
It has been two years in a row that I attended Bon Odori without fail. The experiences gathered were just amazing. I never have had imagined there would be an event in Malaysia held in a stadium where people would come in bright flowery yukata. A stage is built at the centre of the field surrounded by the participants. On top of the stage, Japanese dancers together with students who are undertaking preparatory program to further their studies in Japan dance gracefully to the music. The crowd then will follow the steps, dance together, laughing and clapping hands.
My personal collection of Bon Odori:-