The Bon Odori Festival (Japanese Hungry Ghost)

I just attended an annual festival organised by the Malaysian Japanese Society in Penang. It is a big carnival with stage shows by the Japanese expatriates in Malaysia, fireworks, food and game stalls and other attractions.

It is held at the Esplanade. This is the Penang Municipal Council building. It is a colonial building which is very impressive. Huge, white massive structure with lights.


Japanese expatriates, young and old took part in the festival. All of them dressed up in their Japanese costumes.


These are rush jobs photo sizing. If I am free, probably, I will upload nicer photos. There is a festive atmosphere where the dancers engage the spectators to dance along.


The event is from 5pm just now until 10 pm (abt time of blogging). It ended with a firework. Actually, we had left the venue before the fireworks. This photo is taken in Penang Road, which is a distance away from the Bon Odori venue.


Once again, Penang Faces have brought to you events in Penang ‘live’. If you would like to know more about Bon Odori, you can go to this website and read.

I have pasted some interesting background about Bon Odori. It is almost similar to the Chinese Taoist celebrations of the Hungry Ghost Festival. (which will be celebrated in August)

The Feast of Lanterns, better known as the ‘Bon’ or ‘Urabon’ festival is a traditional Japanese Buddhist celebration dedicated to the spirits of ancestors and deceased loved ones. Dating back to the late Heian (794 – 1185) and Kamakura (1185 – 1333) period, the festival is celebrated on the 15th of July according to the lunar calendar. It is said that during this time of year, the lid of the iron pot of hell is lifted to allow spirits to return home and to be among the living. To guide the spirit of a deceased loved one home it is customary in Japan to adorn one’s house with lanterns. Food is also laid out and prayers are made at temples or privately at home for the departed.


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