(BIVN) – Wearing masks and keeping their distance from one another, dancers with the Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple on Sunday took their cultural celebration on the road, for a different type of Bon Dance in the time of COVID-19. From the temple:
Honoka‘a Hongwanji Buddhist Temple presented Hawaii’s only live Bon Dance event “in real time” on Sunday, August 2, as dancers and helpers took the show on the road, visiting homes in the community.
The first-ever “Traveling Bon Dance” began at the Honoka‘a Cemetery, where participants honored departed loved ones in a ceremonial dance. Afterward, a caravan of pickup trucks and cars moved from house to house in the community to perform in their yards or driveways. Special effort was made to reach families who had lost loved ones in the past year. One of the stops was at Hale Ho‘ola, a senior citizens care facility.
Since many of the members and performers are Kupuna, everyone took special care to practice safety all the way, wearing their masks and keeping their distances.
The centuries-old tradition came to Hawai‘i from Japan along with sugar cane plantation workers in the 1800s, and has become a favorite summertime festivity across the islands. The event, usually held in conjunction with a community memorial service, celebrates the lives of ancestors with traditional music and dance. This year represents the Honoka’a Hongwanji’s 117th year of celebration.
There are no other live Bon Dances planned on Hawai‘i Island this year, and thus far, only virtual Bon Dances statewide.