Bon or Obon is a Japanese Buddhist-Confucian custom to honor the spirits of one's ancestors. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon Odori. During this festival people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars.
The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however, its starting date varies within different regions of Japan. When the lunar calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan responded differently, which resulted in three different times of Obon. Shichigatsu Bon (Bon in July) is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around the 15th of July in eastern Japan Kanto regions such as Tokyo, Yokohama and the Tohoku region.
Bon Odori meaning simply Bon dance is a style of dancing performed during Obon. Originally a Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region. Each region has a local dance, as well as different music.
The stamp shown above depicts a couple of dancers celebrating the Bon festival.
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