Obon Weekend Floats Into Morikami Museum And Japanese Gardens

Obon Weekend at Morikami will feature live taiko drumming. Photo by Austen Waldron

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach will host its annual Obon Weekend on Aug. 12-13.

Obon is a traditional Japanese festival and holiday that holds significant cultural and spiritual importance. It is observed to honor and commemorate the spirits of one’s ancestors.

The two-day holiday celebration will include “Launch the Lantern,” an intimate fundraising dinner featuring a floating lantern celebration to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors.

Obon Weekend will take place Saturday, Aug. 12 and Sunday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is general admission. Taiko drumming performances are $5 for members; $10 for non-members. Taiko drumming tickets are available for purchase at www.morikami.org/event/obon-weekend.

During Obon Weekend, museum visitors are invited to take a stroll through Morikami’s Japanese gardens and gallery exhibits and fill out tanzaku slips in memory of lost loved ones. Guests can also gain insight into the legacy of founder George Morikami at his bon altar.

During Obon, a time when it is believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors revisit their living relatives, families engage in the thoughtful act of adoring their ancestor’s graves and altars. As a symbolic gesture of welcome and appeasement, offerings such as food, fruits and incense are presented.

To share in the significance of this tradition, Morikami’s Bon Altar will be displayed in the Kamiya Room, conveniently adjacent to the membership desk.

Visitors also enjoy Pan Asian cuisine at the Cornell Café and watch live taiko drumming performances by Fushu Daiko. Taiko drumming performances are 30 minutes long and will take place in the Morikami Theater on Saturday and Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Also available is the Launch the Lantern Dinner Fundraiser: An Exclusive Obon Celebration on Sunday, Aug. 13 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The cost is $200 per person. Launch the Lantern Dinner tickets are available for purchase at www.morikami.org/event/launch-the-lantern-dinner.

The Launch the Lantern Dinner Fundraiser will kick off with hors d’oeuvres, sake and whisky tastings, and guests will decorate their very own Obon lantern. Event goers will also enjoy a live taiko performance in the Morikami Theater, followed by dinner and a floating lantern presentation on Lake Morikami. Money raised from the fundraiser will benefit Morikami’s exhibitions, education, emotional wellness programs and expansion.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach. For more information, call (561) 495-0233 or visit www.morikami.org.