Translate Our Site

Obon Festival Features Music, Dancing, Food and Floating Lanterns

ABQ BioPark to celebrate traditional Japanese holiday honoring one's ancestors at the Japanese Garden.

July 26, 2018 - The ABQ BioPark will be bringing an important Japanese holiday - complete with traditional dancing, music and delicious food - to Albuquerque at the Obon Festival this August.

Join us at the Botanic Garden's Japanese Garden for singing, folk dancing, taiko drumming, floating lanterns and food from 7-9 p.m. on August 16 for this first-of-its-kind event at the garden.
"Obon is an important Japanese cultural and family holiday to honor the spirit of one's ancestors," said Pamela Dupzyk, ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden education coordinator. "At this family-friendly event, attendees will acquaint themselves with the sounds, sights, tastes and other customs associated with this annual festival."
In Japan, Obon - or simply "Bon" - has been celebrated for more than 500 years. Known as a family reunion holiday, many people return to ancestral family places to visit and clean their ancestors' graves. Spirits of ancestors are also supposed to revisit household altars. 
Floating lanterns, called toro nagashi, have gained popularity globally during this event. The floating lanterns are a way for family members to symbolically send off their ancestors' spirits into the sky by way of the lanterns. All attendees to the BioPark's Obon Festival will receive a floating lantern to write and draw on. The lanterns will be released into the pond during the evening. 
Food, including stir fry noodle bowls, chicken yak tori skewers, mochi ice cream and more will be available for purchase at concession stations. A full cash bar to include saké and Sapporo beer will also be available. View a full menu here.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children (12 and under) and seniors (65+). Tickets can be purchased in advance at Hold My Ticket:
Gates open at 6:30 p.m.