A celebration of Japanese culture and traditions in Westport


Stifling summer skies failed to deter a lively celebration of Japanese culture and traditions on Saturday afternoon on Jesup Green.

The event was the 19th annual Bon Odori festival organized by the Japan Society of Fairfield County.

Vernon Beck, president of the company, joined others in wearing a traditional Japanese kimono for the occasion, which embodies the group’s mission to promote knowledge and understanding between Japanese and Americans.

The University of Connecticut’s Taiko Drum Group performed traditional Japanese music, which resonated throughout the downtown area. The enthusiastic audience spread across the green were invited to join in a celebratory dance.

Bon is a traditional Japanese Buddhist-Confucian holiday with roots dating back 1,400 years. In Japan, people return to their ancestral homes for a festival that can last for a week. Bon Odori is the traditional dance of the festival. It is a celebration of the influence of ancestors. During the festival, the spirits return to ancestral homes and domestic altars.

Speakers at the event included the cultural attaché of the Japanese Consulate in New York, Masakazu Kigure, and Yoshito Yamashita, the deputy director of the Japan Information Center in New York.


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