Dancing to Please the Ancestors

“Ashibinaa” is a song that accompanies Bon Odori, a Japanese folk dance performed during Obon, a summertime festival which is a period for Japanese to appreciate their ancestors by returning to their hometowns and “visiting with” the spirits of those who have passed. Obon is sometimes called the Lantern Festival; at its beginning Japanese light chochin lanterns to guide the ancestors’ spirits from their graves to the family home and at the end family members use lanterns to lead the spirits back. Our Japanese bon odori dancing may not be so accurate, but we do get the chance to exclaim, “HAI!”