PNAH Community Outreach at Mililani Hongwanji
You know it’s summer when the bon dances start happening in your neck of the woods on Oahu. There hasn’t been one for the past two pandemic years so all those signs of bon dances in the temples are a much welcome sight. The weekend of August 20-21, PNAH Community Outreach Committee members, under the leadership of Tessie Oculto and Tina Fernandez, manned the first aid booth. Joining me were Edna Higa, Virginia Bautista, Marianela Jacob, Estela Ruiz, and Emilyn Ramones.
If you haven’t been to a bon dance, check out your nearest friendly neighborhood Buddhist temple. This is a traditional feast celebrating the return of ancestors. But for Hawaii locals who aren’t of the Buddhist faith, it’s andagi, silent auction, crafts, and country store. One also gets a chance to be out of the house in the hot summer months for a picnic under beautiful lanterns, maybe a full moon, and a festive atmosphere. Lots of locals join the circle of dancing, some in hapi coats and full kimono! That’s how integrated bon dances are in local culture.
Of course, the FA booth is always there in case anything slightly terrible but manageable happens to anyone. These two evenings, most requests were for masks, a couple for a band-aid, one to use the bench to rest, and plenty of laughs and greetings with a smile exchanged!According to officials, approximately more than 2,000 people came to this two-day event. Lots of food, loud music, drums, performances, auction, and dancing happened under the stars from 6-9pm.