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Bon dancing all summer in Hawaii temples.

Bon dancing all summer in Hawaii temples

When the souls of ancestors return to earth, many Japanese celebrate with Bon dancing. In Japan, Bon is a festival in mid-July. But in Hawaii, Buddhist temples take turns celebrating from late June through August.

These dances have become as much social affairs as religious observances. Visitors who stop in at one of the festivals listed below will find dancing around a yagura (wooden musicians' tower) and booths selling such food favorites as "shave ice' cones. Flutes and gongs may accompany singers and taiko drums; at smaller dances music may be taped.

Dances--traditional, stylized movements choreographed for specific Japanese folk songs--are performed by dancers wearing a kimono or happi coat and usually take place in temple courtyards under strings of paper lanterns.

Visitors may join the dances; but it's best to attend practice sessions during the week or two before; call for times.

Several temples end Bon observances with ceremonies in which paper lanterns (toro) and small craft with offerings of incense and food are set out to sea to accompany ancestors' souls back to the spirit world.

Our list tells where to write for details of Bon events on each island (send a stamped, self-addressed envelope). We also include some of the biggest events at picturesque temples. All telephone numbers are area code 808.

On Oahu, 30 festivals

Oahu has 30 Bon celebrations; most start at 7:30 P.M. You can get a list from Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 1727 Pali Highway, Honolulu 96813; 536-7044. Dances at this temple are June 27 and 28.

A crowd is expected the second of two nights of dancing--July 11 and 12--at Haleiwa Jodo Mission, 66-279A Haleiwa Road, Haleiwa; 637-4382. About 10 P.M., temple members carry hundreds of paper lanterns to the beach, light their candles, then set them adrift as priests burn incense, chant blessings, strike cymbals.

Todaiji Temple, 426 Luakini St., Honolulu 96817; 595-2083. Their lantern ceremony is about 5:30 P.M. July 16 at the Kewalo Basin end of Ala Moana Beach Park. Each member family will set afloat two lanternadorned boxes.

July 20, a lantern ceremony takes place at Jodo Mission of Hawaii, 1429 Makiki Street, Honolulu; 949-3995. After July 6, visit the temple yard to see rows of 10-foot-tall ancestor tablets and a wooden sailboat filled with offerings. On July 20, the boat will be towed out to sea from the central waterfront by a lantern-decked sampan.

Celebrations on neighboring islands

On Hawaii, two sources provide lists. For the schedule of Jodo temple dances, write to Hilo Meishoin Mission, 97 Olona St., Hilo 96720; 935-6996. For dates and locations of dances at the 13 Hongwanji, Soto, and Shingon temples, write to Kona Hongwanji Mission, Box 769, Kealakekua 96750; 323-2993. All dances get underway at 8 P.M., and most have at least a drum and flute.

June 20 and 21, dancing takes place at Papaikou Hongwanji Mission, on the old winding road off State Highway 19, Papaikou; 964-1640. On June 28, dancers perform at Honomu Hongwanji Mission, on State Highway 220 (road from State 19 to Akaka Falls), Honomu; 963-6032.

On Kauai, 10 temples have dances, all starting at 8 P.M. For the schedule, write to Waimea Shingon Mission, 3770A Pule Rd., Waimea 96796; 338-1854. The mission is noted for 88 bullet-shaped shrines outlining its yard; dances are August 15 and 16.

Four other temples present outstanding dances. On June 27 and 28, see them at Kauai Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji, Kaumualii Highway (State 50), Hanapepe; 335-3521. On July 11 and 12, dances take place at Kapaa Hongwanji Mission, 1170 Kuhio Highway (State 56), Kapaa; 822-4667. On July 25 and 26, ceremonies are at Koloa Hongwanji Mission, 5521 Koloa Road, Koloa; 742-6815. At the Koloa Jodo Mission, 3482 Waikomo Road, Koloa; 742-6735: dances on August 22 and 23 and a ceremony at Kukuiula on the 24th, when lantern-decked rafts are towed out to sea.

On Lanai and Molokai, dances are July 12. Dancing starts at 7 P.M. at Lanai Hongwanji Mission, Lanai City; 565-6817. On Molokai, it begins at 8 P.M. at Guzeiji Soto Mission, Hotel Lane, Kaunakakai; 553-5197.

On Maui, all dances start at 8 P.M. with taiko drummers and singers. For the 13-temple list, write to Wailuku Hongwanji Mission, 1828 Vineyard St., Wailuku 96793; 244-0406. Dances here are August 1 and 2.

On June 20, special Okinawan dances are held at Wailuku Jodo Mission, 67 Central Avenue, Wailuku; 244-0066.

July 4 and 5, dancers perform at Lahaina Joda Mission, 12 Ala Moana Street, Lahaina; 661-4304. In a lantern ceremony on July 5, between the service (at 7 P.M.) and dancing, congregation members set lanterns adrift next to Mala Wharf.

July 11 and 12, another outstanding program occurs at the beautiful Paia Mantokuji Mission, 253 Hana Highway (State 36), near Paia; 579-8051.

Photo: Stick poised, taiko drummer joins flutist in musicians' tower at Hawaii Bon festival
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Title Annotation:Hawaii Bon Festival
Date:Jun 1, 1986
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