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The Obon is a Japanese Buddhist feast period. It is held from 13th of July to the 16th ("Welcoming Obon" and "Farewell Obon" respectively).

This Buddhist festival has been transformed into a family reunion holiday during which folk return to their home towns.

It is customary to fashion horses and cows out of cucumbers and eggplants. This is done to facilitate the return of the dead.

Obon is a shortened form of the legendary Urabonne/Urabanna. (Sanskrit for "hanging upside down in hell and suffering")

The Japanese believe they should ameliorate the suffering of the "Urabanna".

In the time of Shaka; one of his fellows Mokurenn saw the image of his dead mother suffering in hell. Mokuren was desperate to relieve her pain and asked Shaka for help. Shaka answered, "On 15th of July, provide a big feast for the past seven generations of dead. Mokuren did as he was told, and thankfully, his mother's suffering was relieved. This is the inception of the tradition.

See also: Japanese calendar, Japanese culture