What is Bon Odori? And why is it so fun?

Our Taiko Team at a previous Daikin Festival

As DaikinAlabama.com announced in late February, the much beloved Daikin Festival will be returning on May 5, 2023, from 6:30pm until 9:00pm CDT at Point Mallard.

Held annually since 1994—except during the pandemic—the Daikin Festival is in the style of Bon Odori, a Japanese summer festival that dates back centuries. It’s free of charge (including food and drink) and a family-oriented event.

You’ll find live music, Taiko drumming, Japanese Folk Dancing, Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), Yakisoba (grilled buckwheat noodles with beef and special sauce), BBQ, pizza, refreshing drinks, and special prizes. And it all ends with a fireworks show by PYRO Shows.

But, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is Bon Odori? And why do people find it to be so festive and fun, even though the origins of the festival are rooted in solemn veneration of one’s ancestors?

One reason is the dancing. According to Web Japan, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Bon Odori festival is a time when, among other activities, “People, young and old, form a big circle in a large open space and dance the evening away.”

The dance area is lit with many bright lanterns and the dancers move to the sound of Taiko drumming, a traditional Japanese style that our Daikin Taiko Team is expert at performing. It turns out that when people of different nations and cultures come together in the spirit of the dance, they draw closer to one another and develop greater understanding between them.

That’s what the Daikin Festival has always been about: bringing together a diverse audience of people from the greater Decatur area (and beyond) in a spirit of harmony.

In Japan, Bon Odori is most often held in July or August, though dates vary widely in East and Southeast Asia. Here in Decatur, our version of Bon Odori will be held at Point Mallard on May 5 from 6:30pm until 9:00pm.

So, get your dancing shoes ready and prepare for a fun family event—Daikin Festival 2023!


To learn even more about Bon Odori and its history, visit ab4.us/BonOdoriInfo