They dance from August 14 to August 16, to the daybreak of August 17 according to the solar calendar. They dance in the Bon Season according to the lunar calendar. Also, besides this period, they dance once again in Jizo Bon on August 24.
Two forms remain: Wa-odori (circle dance) which is danced all night during
the 3 days of Bon and Gyouretstu-odori (line dance) which
is a dance to send the spirits off that is danced in the final day.
|People gather in front of Ichigami-sama around 8 PM and hold a festival to greet the gods. The Bon Dancing starts around 9 PM, and they dance until the next morning repeating 6 types of dances.
|They dance in the same way, and in midnight, they send the spirits off in each houses.
|In the evening, they hang the Kiriko Dourous (Kiriko Lanterns) which were brought from Shim-bon houses (the family that lost a member in the year, and see the first Bon Season) around the scaffold which the chorus leader stands. The Bon Dancing starts around 10 PM.¨ In the year 2000, Okuribi (A fire to send the spirits off) could be seen in the evening of August 16. Cf. Photograph
The location of dance
They dance in the main street of Niino town.
They dance in front of Ichigami-sama.
In the old times, they made a round to each houses.
Odori Yagura (Scaffold for dance)
The local people call the Odori Yagura “Ondo Dai”
The Ondo Dai is set up on the road in front of Ichigami-sama which is close to the center of street which is in the center of the town.
The chorus is led inside the Ondo Dai, and several dancers dance on it.
Kiriko Dourou (Kiriko Lantern)
The beautiful “Kiriko Dourou” makes the Niino Bon Dancing gay and exciting. Kiriko Dourou is offered to the Buddhist altar of the people who died on that year (Shin-Seirei The new spirit), and in case of Bon Dancing, it becomes the yorishiro (spirit dwelling object) for the new spirits.
In the night of the final day (August 16), shortly before the Bon Dancing begins, Kiriko Dourous are delivered one after another to the dancing venue from the houses all over Niino which had a new spirit. The officials of the festival fly these around the Odori Yagura, and decorate beautifully. You can tell the number of the people who died in the year in Niino by counting the number of the lanterns.
The Bon Dancing is danced all night long, moving around this Odori Yagura. It means that everyone surround the new spirits and dance together with them. On the morning of August 17, Kiriko Dourou becomes the main symbol of “Odori Kami Okuri (A dance to send the gods off)”, and in the end, they are cut into pieces with a katana (sword) in the garden of the temple and burned to ashes.