Obon, or just Bon, is a three-day Japanese Buddhist festival held every year between mid-July to mid-August. The exact date of the Obon festival varies depending on your location, but for most of Japan the festival begins on August 15. Obon has been celebrated since the 7th century as way for one to honor their ancestors and the sacrifices they made. It is also believed that during Obon, the spirits of ancestors may return to this world in order to visit their living relatives. In addition to honoring ancestors, Obon has also become a time for people to return to their hometowns and reunite with family. Even though Obon is not a government holiday, many businesses give their employees a week off to celebrate the period. The week of Obon is considered one of Japan’s major travel holidays along with Golden Week and New Year. During Obon, people usually hang pictures of deceased relatives, visit their graves, and make food offerings at house altars/temples. Many holiday celebrators also go to carnivals with rides, games, festival foods, and dancing. Bon Odori, is dance style performed during the Obon festival to welcome back the spirits of the dead. On the last day of the festival the Toro Nagashi is performed. This consist of lighting paper lanterns and floating them down river. The lanterns represent the ancestral spirit’s return to the world of the dead.