Our loved ones await us here on this fateful Obon, whether here or in the Living World we hope to find them again.Obon is a well-known holiday in both the World of the Living and Soul Society as it is one of the few times the two collide in a celebration of life and death. During the Bon Festival, the separation between the two worlds is thinnest, allowing loved ones to seek out each other and celebrate their families. A holiday with a rich history, Obon is by far the most well-known and most widely celebrated holiday in Soul Society. The Bon Festival is celebrated in the World of the Living by returning to ancestral homes and cleaning and honoring graves when the spirits would return to the families' altars. As Soul Society is a place of nothing but spirits, the holiday is celebrated a bit differently, often with departed loved ones gathering in a certain place of the Seireitei so that they can view their still-living loved ones.
Obon is a time-honored Japanese tradition, and so it has been in the Soul Society. Since the earliest days of the Seireitei, Souls and Shinigami had celebrated the festival much the same as their counterparts in the World of the Living, but advancements by the 12th Division and the Shinigami Research and Development Institute has allowed the celebration to expand beyond the traditions of its earliest days. Nearly a century ago, the newly appointed Captain of the 12th Division developed a technology that allowed those living in the Soul Society to view their families in the World of the Living. While still a very early technology, the system worked flawlessly, but only during the days of the Bon Festival when the separation between the two worlds was thinnest. This drove a call for unseated Shinigami to serve the Souls of the Rukongai and aid them in finding their families.
A seemingly failed technology is never a failure, it just has yet to find its proper purpose.Over the years, technology expanded through the research and development of young Shinigami. The celebration in Soul Society changed from one of recognition and honor, to a celebration of being reunited with family that had arrived in Soul Society and checking on those still in the World of the Living. The tradition continues to change as better and different technologies are released.
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Culture of Soul Society
The culture of Shinigami, although it takes some elements from current and traditional Japanese culture, predates most culture in Japan and is more based in the teachings of The Art of War by Sun Tzu, as the Shin’ō Academy was founded shortly after The Art of War was written. This culture is slow to change, and often takes parts of the culture of the various Souls that call the Soul Society home and make the traditions and rituals wholly their own.
Obon is celebrated on 24, 25, 26, and 27 Hachigatsu, which aligns with the Hachigatsu Bon festival in the World of the Living. During these days, the barrier between the World of the Living and Soul Society is at is thinnest.
Obon is most popular amongst the Souls of the Rukongai, as it is a time where they can either view their families in the World of the Living or reunite with family members that have already arrived in Soul Society. The participation of Shinigami in the holiday is either very traditional, as it is a time to clean and honor the graves of ancestors, or as those that utilize the technology to aid the Souls of the Rukongai.
Due to the nature of this festival, stations are set up in the various sections of the Rukongai. These stations include various screens and technology to view those in the World of the Living as well as various information and technology to help reunite those in the Rukongai. The large amount of technology is paramount to the execution of the festival in modern times.