O BON SEASON CAME TO A SUNSET SATURDAY IN PĀHALA with the last Bon Dance of the year on the island. Pāhala Hongwanji hosted people from Japan, around the island and U.S. as far away as Boston during its service inside the temple with the dance and food outdoors.
|Kupuna to keiki enjoy the end of the Obon season at Pāhala Hongwanji.|
The event is to remember those who came before and the message of the temple service included, "Let us take a moment to think of our loved ones who have helped you become who you are, those who have cared about you, and those who have been loved by you." The service also included music sung by a Buddhist choir, the song by Israel Kamakawiwa‘ole, its title In this Life, I've Been Loved by You.
The service was followed by dancing outside the temple, with some in kimono, others in hapi coats, others in street dress. The people from diverse communities moved round and round the tower, like a May pole, celebrating the seasons of nature and life, this season the end of the harvest.
Those who participated included many descendants from those who came on ships from Japan to work in the sugar industry generations ago. Many of the descendants are of Japanese, mixed with Hawaiian, Portuguese, Filipino and other bloodlines that date back to the founding of the sugar plantation that closed in Pāhala in 1996 after more than a century.
|From hapi coats to street dress, all were|
welcomed to Bon Dance at Pāhala.
Pāhala and Puna Taiko drummers both played at the event, along with drummers and flutists who accompanied the dance. Japanese food and Pāhala Hongwanji printed headbands and cloths that were offered for sale, along with Japanese lanterns and other collectibles.
Aikido demonstrations were given in the old Japanese Schoolhouse.
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THE HAWAI'I FIRE & EMERGENCY RESPONSE COLLABORATIVE has been established. Mayor Mitch Roth announced this week that the interagency working group will be
dedicated to addressing and preparing for fire issues following recent fires on Hawaiʻi Island and the extensive devastation on Maui.
"Hawaiʻi Fire & Emergency Response Collaborative will convene key regional agencies, experts, and stakeholders to formulate strategies, facilitate resource-sharing, and streamline communication to enhance responses to wildfires and other emergencies.
|Drummers from around the island accompanied the Bon Dance in Pāhala on Saturday.|
|The flute joined in with Japanese tunes.|
"The recent events on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui serve as a stark reminder of our susceptibility to wildfires due to an everchanging climate," said the Mayor. "It is important for us as leaders to come together to collaborate on ways for us to improve our protocols and procedures, ensuring that we are adapting our response abilities to meet the safety needs of our various communities. We cannot do this alone, and we are honored to have willing partners at every level who see the need and are willing to work together for our island and its residents."
Development of a comprehensive wildfire prevention and response strategy.
Enhancement of coordination and communication among agencies and first responders.
Strengthening public education and outreach on fire safety and emergency preparedness.
|Live singing accompanied many of the Bon Dances.|
Identification of funding opportunities for wildfire mitigation and recovery efforts.
Utilization of local and regional resources to bolster disaster resilience.
The statement says, "Mayor Roth and his administration remain steadfast in their commitment to taking proactive measures to protect the unique landscapes, communities, and livelihoods that define Hawaiʻi Island. Establishing the Hawaiʻi Fire & Emergency Response Collaborative signifies a significant milestone in these efforts and reaffirms the administration's dedication to safety, preparedness, and resilience.
"Public input will be a critical component of the work of the Hawaiʻi Fire and Emergency Response Collaborative. A notice will be sent before public meetings to ensure adequate time for planning and attendance. The public can expect meetings to commence in October."
|A long hapi coat dresses up the Bon Dance.|
“We need to be doing everything we can to make our communities more resilient to climate change,” said Schatz. “This funding will help expand our urban tree canopy and mitigate the effects of extreme heat – all while providing job training opportunities to those who need it most.”
|Keiki with Japanese, Hawaiian and other |
bloodlines learns heritage at the Bon Dance.
Tokuda said, "Communities across our state are looking at the extreme drought conditions and rising temperatures in their own backyards and they are scared. This USDA funding is critical as we meet the moment and invest in adaptable green spaces, plant native trees and flora to combat heat and reduce fire risks, combat urban heat islands, mitigate the impacts of natural disasters, and ensure long term climate resiliency.”
|Pāhala Hongwanji held a service before the Bon Dance on Saturday. Photo by Julia Neal|
|The Obon service to remember family members, the|
living and ancestors at Pāhala Hongwanji.