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Bon Odori

Last September 30th and October 1st, FUJITAYA Hotel was again the venue for the second edition of the "Japan-Mexico Natsu matsuri" (summer party) by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Mexico, A.C. (Cámara Japonesa de Comercio e Industria de México, A.C.).

We were visited by Japanese and Mexicans, as well as many other foreigners of different nationalities, for which we are very grateful to all the participants. Approximately 1,300 people attended the first day of the event, and on the second day, 800 people attended the closing of the event.

One of the main activities during the Event was the "Bon odori", which is the traditional dance performed around a "yagura" in "Natsu matsuri". But do you know its history?

There are several stories about its origin, but they all mention a monk named "Kuuya" who did "Odori nenbutsu" (i.e. telling Buddhism while dancing) who started this tradition.

Later, over time, it was combined with an event called "urabonne", where the intention of the participants was to welcome and care for the souls of their ancestors; this custom was based on the family trees of the participants.

During the "Edo Period" this dance became popular, to the point that later it was associated with a completely different context that focused on the liberating energy of sexuality. This led to the prohibition of this dance during the "Meiji Period"; under the justification of provoking alteration to the public environment because for the Japanese culture the sexual act was considered sacred, which was denigrated through the participation in the "Bon Odori" that had become a meeting point for men and women on a holy day.

It was not until the "Taisho Period" that the Taisho democracy occurred; where it was possible to reevaluate in a better way what made up the Japanese culture.

Beginning with the preservation of the cultural music of Japan, through the style of "Bon Odori"; allowing it to regain its popularity and be realized as it is today. Presenting some variations but maintaining the characteristic elements.

In Japan you can find several different types of "Bon Odori"; but in general, it is performed by beating the drum in "Yagura", while the participants dance around to the rhythm of the music. Keeping in mind that the form of the dance will depend on the region and district where it is performed.

Traditionally, "Bon Odori" music is usually used, which would be the song of the district where the dance is being performed, but recently J-Pop (Japanese Pop) is beginning to be used in some places.

About the costume; it consists of the traditional Japanese garment called "Yukata". In addition to the optional use of a fan placed on the back over the belt. Some men usually wear the "Hachimaki" on their heads and the "Inrou" on their waist. But there is no need to worry, because nowadays it is also possible to participate in casual dress.

The "Natsu matsuri" festival is held during the months of July and September in many places in Japan (the date will depend on each place).

For next year 2024, the "Japan-Mexico Natsu Matsuri" will be held again.

Come and experience the Japanese summer festival in Queretaro!

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