In Japan, the O-Bon Festival is celebrated. The festival comes from a legend about a monk who one day while meditating, sees his dead mother hanging upside down. She visited him from the Buddhist equivalent of hell. She was punished for eating meat during her life and refused to feel remorse. The Buddhist was holy enough to enter hell and buy his mothers passage to heaven.
Traditionally, Families place food and water in front of photographs of dead relatives and bonfires and lanterns are lit to light the spirits way back to earth. O-Bon lasts for threes days.
On the first day, people decorate the graves of their loved ones with fruit, cakes, and lanterns.
On the second day, Alters, also called Tamadana, are assembled at the home. Atop rush mats, People will have their ancestors plaques, delicious vegetarian dishes, and cucumbers carved into horses that the spirits are welcome to ride.
On the third day, communities will gather for a Bon-Odori, a traditional and hypnotic slow dance that moves in circles or lines. In the evening, tiny lanterns are set adrift in the river or the sea. These are called omiyage and are meant to light the spirits way back to the “other shore”.