Maui Eisa Obon Matsuri

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This year’s Maui Rinzai Zen bon dance attracted more than last year, and the food was again “ippei maasan”. This was also the first time that Maui members performed the Shisa Mo-i, or lion dance. The costumes were borrowed from the Young Okinawans of Hawai`i, and after only a few rehearsals, they did an excellent job, especially the “warabincha” or children. The people seemed in awe. The taiko group also grew with 6 eisa daiko and 8 shime daiko. Dancers came out in force as this year’s circles around the stage came out to be two and a half…almost 3. Ultimately, this bon dance is the grandest of them all in the state, and the only 100% Okinawan. Passed down from the time of the issei, the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren have kept this tradition going at the temple that the first Okinawan immigrants built in this former sugar plantation of Paia. No wonder the island is also known as Maui no ka oi. It reminded me of the Jikoen bon dances before the Japanese groups and modern dances came in. More and more people seem to be coming every year to eat, dance, and enjoy this tradition. Whoever thinks that too much tradition won’t attract the young, should come to this bon dance. The young Maui Okinawans are eager to pass on and learn the treasures of their grandparents and ancestors.

1 thought on “Maui Eisa Obon Matsuri

  1. Jesse

    Thank you Eric and Norman for coming to our obon and sharing your knowledge and expertise with us Maui folk. The memories I have of obon are very dear to me, and you guys have a big role in them.
    Thanks again,

    Jesse from Paia (not Paea, ^___^)

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