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3 July cultural festivals you should know about: Pow Wows, Obon, Indonesian

July 1, 2011

Happy July all!  There are so many festivals to look forward to this month and I wanted to point out 3 specific types:

  1. Pow Wows.  I’ve lived in California for more than ten years, but know very little about the indigenous tribes of this country.  I can educate myself in many ways by googling it, or taking a class.  But I learn better with hands-on experience and that’s exactly what a festival can do.  Pow wows are gatherings to preserve their traditions and share it with the public.   Experience the culture by tasting the foods, watching  the tribal dances, listening to the songs, and seeing the arts.
  2. Obon.  It’s a yearly Buddhist tradition mainly celebrated by the Japanese to honor the spirits of their ancestors (Similar to All Souls Day or Dia Los Muertos).  It is usually celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month, but is also celebrated in August.  If you’re not going to Japan this month or in August, you can still experience Obon in your state.  See the bright lanterns, taste the food, hear the sounds of the Taiko drum, and watch men and women dance in their traditional summer kimono.  See a full listing of all obon events at Japanese-city website.
  3. Indonesian.  As we celebrate fourth of July, Indonesians  will also celebrate their independence.  Indonesians gained their freedom in August, but celebrations are held as early as July in California.  Participate in the traditional celebration tasting the foods, listening to the music, and watching the martial arts.  Plan to take the METRO to Los Angeles July 16 or BART to San Francisco on July 23.  Admission to both events are free.

*See July post for festival dates in your city and links to the websites.

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