The Japanese community in Sri Lanka gathered to celebrate “Bon Odori”, the Japanese Summer Festival, bringing a bit of Japan to the heart of Colombo. The festival was attended by a number of Japanese nationals, Sri Lankans and other expatriates in Colombo sharing the excitement in a truly colourful atmosphere.
It was organised by the Japanese Embassy together with the Japanese Solidarity Association of Sri Lanka, and the Japanese Graduates Alumni Association of Sri Lanka, and held at the Mercantile Cricket Association Grounds.
‘Bon Odori’ is a traditional summer holiday to honour the spirits of one’s deceased ancestors and later evolved into a family reunion during which people return to their hometowns and visit their ancestors’ graves. Japanese delicacies and cuisine offered by Nihonbashi and Ginza Housen restaurants, added flavour to this outdoor event.
Each visitor at the festival was presented with an elegant Japanese fan or Uchiwa, a custom straight out of the Bon Odori in Japan. The event went further with lucky draws by many sponsors including ARS, Toyota Lanka, Aitken Spence, THAI Airways, Panasonic Softlogic, Il Gelato, Nihonbashi and Culinary Journeys with Dharshan.
The highlight of the night was the centre stage where the drumming and the dancing took place. The festival was completed with activities for Japanese children playing the traditional games of ‘Kingyo Sukui’ and ‘Yo-Yo Tsuri’. It featured the voluntary efforts of teachers of the Japanese School in Colombo presenting a night filled with the songs and sounds of the Japanese heartland.
This year visitors were invited to purchase charity stickers and T-shirts in remembrance of victims of the Tsunami in March.