FYI from Japanphilly.org about this summer's Obon festival plans:
The 9th annual Philadelphia Obon Festival continues a new Shofuso tradition, born out of the hardships of the previous year, to light lanterns and float them on Shofuso’s pond dedicated to those no longer with us. The Registered participants can launch floating lanterns on Shofuso’s pond.
Obon is a series of events in Japan that enshrine the spirits of ancestors in the summer that are based on Buddhism and Ancestral worship. Typically, in Japan, between August 13-15 (depending on the region), people return to their hometowns to celebrate Obon each year. Families gather, clean their graveyard, the shrine in the house and light the lanterns to welcome the spirits home. After the spirits spend a few days with family, dance Bon-Odori in a circle under the lanterns to guide the spirits back to the otherworld. People often dress in Yukata, Japanese one-layer summer cotton Kimono for the Obon festivals.
To learn more about Shofuso, located in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, please visit their page HERE.