For the Dead / by Jim Hathaway

Japan has three New Year's Days, and two Obon. 

Obon is the Festival for the Dead. 

The first Obon happened in Tokyo a couple weeks ago. The second is for out of town, celebrated in mid August. Companies lets people free. Every highway, every train, every hotel in Japan is full.

Obon is a time to visit grandparents and family graves. People welcome the spirits of the dead by making little fires in front of their doors to light the way. Some people make vegetable animals for the dead to ride, toothpick legs in eggplants and cucumbers.

White lanterns are hung at the front of temples. People use white lanterns in their homes.

Communities sponsor festivals and dances, in large circles around the high taiko drum.

Mexico has a famous festival for their dead. Other countries as well. America honors veterans and laborers, but has no festival, no day, for the dead.