One of my favorite things to do in the summer — particularly in Hawaii — is hit up the bon dances that happen just about every weekend starting in June.
Traditionally speaking, obon is the season during which Japanese Buddhists honor the spirits of their ancestors. The dance itself — called bon odori — has evolved into a cultural festival in the Islands, with food booths and other vendors in addition to the traditional folk music and dancing.
The event, which ran on Friday and Saturday, took the traditional bon dance to a whole ‘nother level. On Saturday, it turned into a full-on street fair, with several lunch trucks and restaurants, including the pop-up gastropub Miso & Ale, which served curry chicken dogs, miso pork ramen and grape soda donuts topped with Pop Rocks.
Not only are these festivals a way to connect — or, in some cases, reconnect — with our local culture, it’s also a fun way to spend an evening, eating andagi or yakisoba and watching yukata-clad folks dance around the yagura (bandstand).
And there was beer, too.
Missed this weekend’s bon dances?
Don’t worry — there are festivals just about every weekend through August.
Coming up on July 13 and 14:
• 7 p.m. Koboji Shingon Mission (1223B N School St., 808-841-7033)
• 7 p.m. Waipahu Hongwanji (94-821 Kuhaulua St., 808-677-4221)
• 7:30 p.m. Haleiwa Shingon Mission (66-469 Paalaa Rd., 808-637-4423)
• 6 p.m. Rissho Kosei-kai Hawaii Kyokai (2280 Auhuhu St., 808-455-3212)
For a complete list — with recommendations — check out Honolulu Magazine’s published schedule.