Saturday, Aug 18, 2018 11:00a -
Horticultural and Lansdowne Drives
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Festivals & Fairs
On Saturday, August 18, 2018, the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) will host the Philadelphia Obon Festival. This free cultural festival will take place outside of Shofuso, the Japanese house and garden in West Fairmount Park, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include live music and dance, tea ceremony demonstrations, arts, crafts, traditional games, food trucks, as well as a Japanese flea market and gift shop. Shofuso will be open with regular admission rates.
In Japan, Obon is a festival that combines spiritualism with communal fun. With roots in Buddhism and Confucianism, Obon has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places, and when the spirits are said to visit their families in turn. The Japanese diaspora has brought Obon outside of Japan, adding new cultural elements to the traditions such as taiko drumming and shamisen (a Japanese three-string lute) music contests. Contemporary festivals all over the world regularly feature a carnival-like atmosphere with seasonal snacks like watermelon and inarizushi (a kind of sushi or rice ball) — and in Hawaii: spam musubi.
Philadelphia’s Obon Festival began in 2013 in partnership with three local Japanese performing arts organizations: Kyo Daiko, the IchiFuji-kai Dance Association, and Urasenke Philadelphia. The leadership of Therese Stevens and Fujima Nishiki-no (nee Helen Moss) brought traditional music and folk dance accompanied by taiko drumming to the festival, while Morgan Beard and the Urasenke Tea School brought tea demonstrations to the festival audience. The festival has since expanded to include food trucks and a Japanese flea market and gift shop. This year, dance leaders from IchiFuji-kai will facilitate a folk dance practice the weekend before Obon on Sunday, August 12th, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The dance practice is free and open to the public.
About the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia:
JASGP is a private nonprofit organization that has brought Philadelphia and Japan closer together for more than 25 years through art, business, and culture. JASGP operates Shofuso, produces the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, and presents the US-Japan Business and Public Policy Series, as well as other arts, business, culture, and educational programming for all ages. For more information, visit japanphilly.org.
Shofuso is a traditional-style Japanese house and garden that reflects the history of Japanese culture in Philadelphia. Shofuso is open for weekday admissions to the public through October, Wednesdays through Fridays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Adult admission is $12; senior citizens, students with ID and children ages 5-17 admission is $8; Pennsylvania ACCESS EBT card admission is $2; JASGP members, active duty military with ID, and children under 5 are admitted free. Shofuso is located at Horticultural and Lansdowne Drs., Philadelphia, PA 19131. For more information, visit japanphilly.org.