2012 Kyubon Eisa

This past week was the Kyureki Calendar based obon festival in Okinawa.  On Kumejima, I was able to attend the Gima and Higa festivals which both took place at the same time, on the second day of kyubon.  I found it extremely interesting how different the two festivals were, even though they are on the same small island.  Just as every family that celebrates Christmas does it in slightly different ways, so too, do different families and even neighborhoods celebrate obon differently.

Below are a few pictures from the night.  It also happened to be the night of a blue moon so I included a few shots as it rose behind the Gima festival.  Both had fireworks, Eisa, dancing, and live performances.  I even played with one of the local bands at the Higa festival.  As with most festivals, guests were encouraged to make a donation that helps support the event and community, and in return receive a small bag with snacks and a drink.  There was also food for sale.  Most of the community club members (every community aza tends to have several clubs: one for young people, another for mothers, etc) participated in the Eisa dance or bon odori (bon dance).

In the pictures below you’ll notice that on Kumejima they integrate the two with an outer circle of Eisa dancers and an inner circle of drum-less odori.  When the festival ended, organizers and participants settled down for a long relaxed party to celebrate all their hard work and to re-connect with all the people who returned for Kyubon.