Obon celebrations in Bay Area

By Ron Kitagawa, Mercury News, July 12, 2007

Obon celebrations include Taiko Drumming and flower arranging

Bay Area, CA (USA) -- Each summer, Buddhist temples across the Bay Area celebrate Obon - a religious and cultural event commemorating one's ancestors. The festivals and bazaars, many of which have been held for more than 50 years, are also a time to make new acquaintances and reconnect with friends and family.

The two largest events in the area are the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin (this weekend) and the Mountain View Buddhist Temple (next weekend).

There will be cultural exhibits, including martial arts and taiko drum exhibitions, bonsai and suiseki (the art of rock arrangement), ikebana (flower arrangements) and Bon Odori (folk dancing). And there are games and food - lots of food: From chicken and beef teriyaki to sushi, udon and, yes, hot dogs.

Here's a roundup of some of the upcoming events:

Buddhist Temple of Alameda
2325 Pacific Ave.
(510) 522-5243
Bazaar: 4-9 p.m. July 28
(Bon Odori at 7 p.m.)

Mountain View
Mountain View Buddhist Temple
575 N. Shoreline Blvd.
(650) 964-9426, www.mvbuddhisttemple.org/home
Bazaar: 4-10 p.m. July 21; noon-9 p.m.
July 22 (Bon Odori at 7 p.m.)

Buddhist Church of Oakland
825 Jackson St.
(510) 832-5988, www.buddhistchurchofoakland.org
Bazaar: 3-9 p.m. Aug. 4
(Bon Odori at 7:30 p.m.)

Palo Alto Buddhist Temple
2751 Louis Road
(650) 856-0123, www.pabt.org
Bazaar: 5-10 p.m. Aug. 4; noon-9:30 p.m. Aug. 5 (Bon Odori at 7:30 p.m.)

Buddhist Temple of Salinas
14 California Street
(831) 424-4105, http://worknotes.com/CA/Salinas/BTS/index.html
Bazaar: noon-9 p.m. July 29 (Bon Odori at 6 p.m.)

San Jose
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
650 N. Fifth St.
(408) 293-9292, www.sjbetsuin.com
Bazaar: noon-10 p.m. Saturday
(Bon Odori at 7:45 p.m.) and noon-8 p.m. Sunday (Bon Odori at 6 p.m.)

San Mateo
San Mateo Buddhist Temple
2 S. Claremont St.
(650) 342-2541; www.sanmateobuddhisttemple.org
(Bazaar was held June 23-24.)
Bon Odori: 7 p.m.
Union City

Southern Alameda County
Buddhist Church
32975 Alvarado-Niles Road
(510) 471-2581, www.sacbc.org
(Bazaar was held last weekend)
Bon Odori: 7 p.m. Aug. 11

Watsonville Buddhist Temple
423 Bridge St.
(831) 724-7860, www.wbtemple.org
Bazaar: 2:30 p.m. July 22
(Bon Odori at 6:30 p.m.)