Â Â Â Â Maui’s Pa’ia Rinzai Zen Mission’s obon fell on the day following U-kui, or the last day of the lunar calendar obon. Â The festivities opened with a first tim ein Hawai`i presentation of usude-ku, by the women of the Maui Okinawa community. Â This was a rare treat for everyone, as this kind of dance and ceremony is dying out in Okinawa. Â The interest in it for Maui, gives a light of hope that this Okinawan tradition will be passed down. Â Traditionally, usude-ku is performed by women of the community to ask for blessings of the ancestors. Â It coincides with the obon observances, and is usually done the day after u-kui. Â The chant used for the Maui dance was conceived by the members after watching Okinawa usude-ku and having a workshop on it. Â The women participating, wanted to pass down this tradition, and hope that it will live on. Â They were very happy to be the first in Hawai`i to bring this into the obon festival. Â They weren’t any different from Okinawa ladies, who would dress in their finest kunji kimono, and be so excited and happy to get together and perform this for the village. Â more and more in Okinawa, this tradition is changing to be modern, or in many places, just dying out due to the young women not wanting to take over. Â It is a reality now that in about 10 years, this tradition may be extinct from village obon ceremonies. Â It is encouraging to see the Maui community responding in such positive ways to the preservation of traditional Okinawan culture. Â As the women came out, it was like being taken back to Okinawa, and seeing this happening before your eyes. Â Hopefully this vision will continue for future generations to come.