Maui’s Obon Season + Schedule

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UPDATE: 2015 obon season schedule

Maui obon

When you live near the equator, seasons seem to mesh together. Sure, Maui gets a little wetter during the winter months, but for the most part, living here is the ultimate endless summer. But there is one sure sign that summertime has arrived — obon festivals!

This centuries-old Buddhist tradition finds new life every summer here in the islands. June marks the opening of Maui’s obon season, when typically quiet Buddhist temples welcome a flurry of revelers.

At its core, obon is a time to honor the deceased. Graves are cleaned and prayers are said — but it is not a somber occasion. The Technicolor festival is marked by vibrant kimono, bright lanterns, and booming taiko drums that awaken and welcome ancestors back to this world. Gray-haired ladies in kimono sway and step alongside little girls in Hello Kitty yukata, dancing ‘round and ‘round the yagura (tower).

This year, the obon season kicks off June 7, which means it’s time to start dusting off that happi coat or kimono!

2014 OBON SCHEDULE

Lahaina obon festival foodJune 7, Lahaina Shingon Mission
(obon service at 6:30 p.m.; dancing at 7:30 p.m.)
682 Luakini Street, Lahaina
808.661.0466

June 14, Puunene Nichiren Mission
(service at 7 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
9 Ani Street, Kahului
808.871.4831

June 20, Wailuku Jodo Mission
(service at 7 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
67 Central Avenue, Wailuku
808.244.0066

Lahaina Obon FestivalJune 21, Wailuku Shingon Mission
(service at 7 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
1939 North Street, Wailuku
808.244.3800

July 5, Lahaina Jodo Mission*
(lantern fetivities at 6:30 p.m., followed by dancing)
12 Ala Moana Street, Lahaina
808.661.4304
www.lahainajodomission.org
*This temple puts on a magical lantern floating ceremony — the only one like it on Maui — characterized by illuminated lanterns inscribed with messages and prayers for deceased loved ones are set out to sea. If you can make it to just one obon this season, this is the one to visit!

Maui obon festivalsJuly 11/12, Paia Mantokuji Mission
(service at 6 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
253 Hana Highway, Paia
808.579.8051
www.mantokujimauitemple.org

July 18/19, Kahului Hongwanji Mission
(service at 7 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
291 S. Puunene Avenue, Kahului
808.871.4732
www.kahuluihongwanji.org

July 25/26, Makawao Hongwanji Mission
(service at 6:30 p.m.; dancing at 7:30 p.m.)
1074 Makawao Avenue, Makawao
808.572.7229

Aug. 1/2, Wailuku Hongwanji Mission
(service at 7 p.m.; dancing at 8 p.m.)
1828 Vineyard Street, Wailuku
808.244.0406
www.wailukuhongwanji.com

Aug. 9, Kahului Jodo Mission
(service at 6:30 p.m.; dancing at 7:30 p.m.)
325 Laau Street, Kahului
808.871.4911

Aug. 16, Paia Rinzai Zen Mission
(service at 6 p.m.; dancing at 7 p.m.)
120 Alawai Road, Paia
808.268.2209
www.rinzai-maui.org

Aug. 22/23, Lahaina Hongwanji Mission
(service at 6:30 p.m.; dancing at 7:30 p.m.)
551 Wainee Street, Lahaina
808.661.0640

Aug. 30, Kula Shofukuji Mission
(service at 6:30 p.m.; dancing at 7:30 p.m.)
113 Puanani Place, Kula
808.661.0466; Same number as Lahaina Shingon Mission.


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