Obon

Our loved ones await us here on this fateful Obon, whether here or in the Living World we hope to find them again.
— Rukongai Resident
  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.

History

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.
— Kisuke Urahara
  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.  

Obon Technology


World Viewers
Large screens are set up in various places across the Rugonkai that allow Souls to view various family members in the World of the Living. Due to the traditional nature of the Bon Festival in Japan, the screens often focus on places where ancestral graves or altars are, but can be focused on other areas if requested.   Each of the four stations in the Rukongai includes up to ten screens, but even this large amount is not enough to serve all those in the Rukongai. In more recent years, Souls have been asked to limit their time or sign up for appointments in advanced if possible.
Soul Finders
Another technology of the 12th Division used during Obon is an invention named a Soul Finder. These devices have the ability to find family members or ancestors in Soul Society by tracing similarities in Reiryoku. While this is not an exact science, it has been successful in reuniting a number of families since its development.   While not a technology, another way of finding lost family members during Obon is through the large lists that are placed at the various stations during the festival. If the Soul Finder is not successful, Souls can be added to the lists in hopes of finding lost family members, but this method may take years to be successful.

Related Ethnicities

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.  

Observance


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.  

Participants


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.  

Execution


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.

Comments

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Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
29 Oct, 2020 17:51

Aw I like this! :) Must be nice to be able to watch people in the world of the living.

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
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