The annual Bon Festival – now called the Lantern Festival in the Spirit of Obon – which takes place Saturday at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens features a beautiful tradition: Visitors float hundreds of lanterns on the Morikami Pond to light the way for loved ones to the afterlife, or ‘otherworld.’
The ceremony is traditionally significant, solemn, peaceful and endearingly lovely, and it has made the Lantern Festival one of the Morikam’s most popular events.
So popular, it’s also sold out.
There is one way to get a ticket, though. Become a member of the Morikami Museum and you earn a free pass for the Lantern Festival. Memberships start at $40 for students, $60 for individuals. Ask about an Educators Club, Dual, Netsuke and Taiko memberships.
Here’s a recap of the Lantern Festival:
The Toro Nagashi, Shoryobune and Tanzaku. When the ancestors’ return to the ‘otherworld’ the way is illuminated by farewell fires and simple paper lanterns called toro nagashi. Families who have lost loved ones in the past year also write messages on slips of paper, tanzaku, that are placed on the shoryobune, a boat of sorts.
Folk dancing. The folk dance Bon Odori, also called the Bon Dance, entertains visiting spirits. Ladies in beautiful traditional dress perform this slow, rhythmic dance.
Taiko drumming. Taiko drumming has been part of religious ceremonies and celebrations for centuries.
The Ennichi Street Fair and Food Booths. Traditional fair food like funnel cakes and hot dogs will be served up alongside Japanese specialties like soba noodles and chicken yakitori at the food booths located throughout the grounds.
IF YOU GO
The Lantern Festival in the Spirit of Obon
When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Morikami Museum and Japanese Garden, 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach
Tickets: Sold out. But you can get a free ticket by becoming a member. Individual memberships start at $40 for students, $50 for individuals. Other options are available.
Info: 561-495-0233; morikami.org