On August 14, 2022 the first Humboldt Obon Festival will be held at the Creamery District in Arcata from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. There will be a Buddhist priest to bless the Festival and share the stories and traditions of Obon, an altar to honor our ancestors, food vendors (Asian and Pacific Islander cuisine), children’s activities, music, Bon Dancing, and more. HAPI (Humboldt Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity) is the organizing sponsor, but many people from the community have come together to brainstorm and plan our first Obon Festival. It has been an exciting process with many fond memories of Obon shared.
Obon is a time in Japanese tradition when our ancestors come to earth to visit. It is a time to clean family graves, offer favorite foods, pray, and dance. Obon is very much like Dia de los Muertos. There are weekly Bon Dances at the Buddhist churches and Shinto shrines. These dances bring all generations together. The young ones learn from their parents and grandparents, and they often add a little of their own dance steps, which is always fun!
A little history…when HAPI gathered the community together for Swingposium on the Road back in early 2019, many people got excited about sharing other Asian and Pacific Islander traditions such as Obon. Yes, let's have Obon in August! But then the pandemic hit, and we had to shut down for two years. We are now at a safer time to gather, share traditions and memories, dance, eat yummy food, and so much more. Very exciting to bring this Japanese tradition to Humboldt County!
Our goal for the 2022 Obon Festival GoFundMe campaign is $4,000. These funds will help pay for the rental of sound equipment and a stage, travel and lodging for Rev. Sakamoto (visiting Buddhist priest from San Jose), the ancestors’ altar, rental of portable toilets and hand-washing station, and supplies for the children’s activities. The overall budget for the 2022 Obon Festival is about $9,000.
All contributions to the Humboldt Obon Festival GoFundMe campaign are greatly appreciated! Domo arigato gozaimasu!!
See you at the 2022 Humboldt Obon Festival on Aug. 14th!!