LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i Buddhist Council released its 2023 schedule of bon dances at most of the Buddhist temples around the island during the months of June and July.
This is the first year the Kaua‘i Buddhist Council has participated in the community gathering format following three years of not having bon dances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Grove Farm Company, which filled in with a singular bon dance to appease the people’s appetite for the bon dance during the pandemic, has not made a decision whether or not to host a bon dance for 2023.
Those new to bon dance can learn the different dances and etiquette by attending any of the bon dance practices.
Beginner classes take place every Saturday in March from 8 a.m. at the West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Hanapepe temple front lawn adjacent to the Hanapepe Public Library. Bon dance practice for the more experienced dancers takes place on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. in April and May.
The Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission hosts bon dance practice on the first and third Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the church’s social hall.
Starting Monday, the Kapa‘a Hongwanji Mission will host bon dance practice every Monday from 6 p.m. in the church’s social hall.
Bon dance, originally a Buddhist Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead to the earthly world, started 600 years ago. Arriving with the first Japanese immigrants who came to Hawai‘i to work on the plantations in the 1900s, the bon dance has adapted and been melded over more than 130 years to become a joyous community gathering with its troupes of colorful, kimono-clad dancers, activities, games and unique offering of bon dance food like flying saucers and pronto pups.
The schedule is as follows:
June 9-10: Kapa‘a Hongwanji Mission;
June 16-17: Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji, Hanapepe;
June 23-24: West Kaua‘i Hongwanji Mission, Waimea;
July 7-8: Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission;
July 14-15: Waimea Shingon Mission;
July 28-29: Waimea Higashi Hongwanji.
Source: The Garden Island