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Bon Odori dancers at Fresno Betsuin Buddhist Temple.

Bon Odori is one part of the larger, midsummer Obon. The Japanese celebration is held in order to remember and express gratitude for those who have passed on. Paper lanterns, with loved ones' names, float in the breeze above the dancers.

Traditionally, it's believed that the beloved deceased come to join in the celebration with those who are still living, participating in the dance.

Dance movements are in imitation of life activites: work, play, sports. In this way, the deceased are invited to participate in life again, for the brief Obon season.

At the end of the season, lanterns are set on water to float away, as families bid goodbye again to their loved ones, until the following year.

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