San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon Festival at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center, 12953 Branford St. in Pacoima, on Saturday, June 29, from 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, June 30, from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
Attendees can participate in the tradition of Bon Odori dancing on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 p.m., and enjoy other cultural and ethnic experiences such as taiko drum performances (preceding Bon Odori each evening) and Japanese calligraphy and doll exhibits.
Dancers of all ages in colorful kimono and happi coats perform traditional Japanese folk dances celebrating the Buddhist “Festival of Joy,” which started centuries ago as a religious custom to remember and express gratitude to deceased loved ones. All attendees are encouraged to join the simple and fun dances, led by teachers and the sound of rhythmic music.
Bring a round fan, towel and naruko (or just snap your fingers to the beat). The last dance practice will be held on Thursday, June 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the temple parking lot.
Highlighting the festival are ethnic Japanese and American foods for sale, including chicken teriyaki, udon noodles, sushi, Spam musubi, refreshing shave ice, delicious baked goods, and many other delectable items.
Enjoy family carnival games and prizes, enter the raffle for a chance to win up to $1,000, and cool off in the Bingo Hall with its Buddhist bookstore and flea market for Japanese goods and apparel.
Free admission. Parking available on surrounding streets. Pets are not allowed due to health regulations.