Basic Terms of Shinto 神道基本用語集

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Bon matsuri
Text A festival celebrated around July 15 in order to console the spirits of the dead. On the 13th, a fire called mukaebi (welcoming fire) is burned at the entrance of each house; by this the spirits of the dead are welcomed into the house and offerings are made to them on the altar. On the 15th, another fire called okuribi (sending-off fire) is burned to send off the spirits on their return. In some places, instead of the okuribi, lanterns are floated down a river. The festival is said to have originated in Buddhism; but it is clear that the Japanese practice is based on indigenous beliefs antecedent to Buddhism and that Buddhist practices were simply added later.