Obon Luminarias


Grade Level: 3, 4, 5

Keywords: Buddhist Holidays


  • The student will know the significance of Obon
    • At Obon time, we reflect on individuals in our past with respect and appreciation for the many ways they have influenced our lives. One can express this gratitude by dancing and also display these feelings on luminarias. Dharma students can create designs, drawings or writings on plastic lanterns, which can be displayed at the Obon Festival. It has been a tradition in Japan to create lanterns of different forms to honor our loved ones.


  • Plastic luminarias, battery-operated tea lights or patio lights
  • Permanent markers (Sharpies, Bic Markers or Mark o lots),
  • Wisteria or Dharma Wheel Stickers
  • Obon Info handout (below)


  • Purchase/obtain the luminarias, tea lights or patio lights
  • Prepare 2 or 3 to show as demonstration material
  • If desired, make sufficient copies of the Obon Info sheet for the class


  1. Introduction: Information about Obon—how it began and its meaning.
  2. Discussion: Memorials and other ways we show our appreciation of loved ones including pets and animals.
  3. Demonstration: Show how to decorate the luminarias using the materials provided. Show examples of other lanterns.
  4. Students create their own designs using graphics, designs, words and stickers.
  5. At Obon, luminarias will by hung from patio lights or displayed on tables using tea lights.


  • Review the meaning of Obon




Marion Nishimura, mieko4nish.at.gmail.com, Orange County Buddhist Church, 2014

OBON Info.docx