CORTEZ OBON FESTIVAL SATURDAY
The annual Cortez Obon Festival will be held Saturday starting at 7 p.m. in the parking lot between Cortez Hall and Cortez Buddhist Church on Cortez Avenue, between Santa Fe Drive and Linwood Avenue, southeast of Turlock. The Obon festival is held in many communities in Japan, as well as in Japanese-American communities around the United States. The origins of Obon are from the Buddhist legend of Mogallana, one of the Buddha’s disciples, rejoicing when his mother’s soul was redeemed from the realm of hungry ghosts. Most people of Japanese ancestry celebrate Obon as a homecoming: a time to visit one’s hometown and give homage to ancestors. For many Buddhist churches and temples in the United States, this festival offers a time to hold major fundraisers in the form of bazaars with food, games, cultural displays and, of course, Obon dancing. The community of Cortez celebrates with traditional dancing. Most dances are set to Japanese folk songs, old and new, with repetitive steps that can be learned quickly. Many participants dress in traditional summer wear called yukata. In its fourth appearance at Cortez Obon, Ballico Taiko, a drum group from the Ballico-Cressey Elementary School District, will start the celebration at 7. Dancing will start soon after with musical accompaniment by the Cortez Karaoke Singers. During intermission, enjoy another taiko performance, this time by Stockton Bukkyo Taiko, and an encore performance by the Cortez Karaoke Singers. There will be refreshments from Cortez Buddhist Church. For more information, call Chris Kubo at (209) 632-7942 or email email@example.com.