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August at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach will be chock-full of events for all ages and interests.
Starting out the first weekend is the Youth Origami Workshop for ages 8 to 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7. Parents or guardians must accompany children under 14 and are also welcome to enroll in the class. The cost is $20.
Obon, which honors and celebrates deceased ancestors, is Saturday, Aug. 14 and Sunday, Aug. 15 not only at the Morikami Museum but also in Japan.
“During this time, it is believed that spirits of our ancestors come back to visit. Families get together and visit ancestral graves and/or their ancestral altar in the home, to clean them, give offerings of food and flowers, and burn incense,” said Bonnie White LeMay, museum director. “This custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday for many, and is usually a joyous and solemn occasion, serving to honor our ancestors and lost loved ones and to thank them for contributing to the quality of life enjoyed by the living. Last year, we were unable to commemorate them at our annual Lantern Festival due to the pandemic, however, this year we will celebrate and honor our ancestors and loved ones.”
Attendees are invited to honor their departed loved ones in a variety of ways. One of the activities includes filling out a tanzaku slip, a colored sheet of paper or card, in which they can write the memory of a lost loved one, wishes and goals, or other items. The slips will then be collected, floated in a lantern after hours and sailed on the lake where it will be filmed and shared virtually.
Participants can also pay respects to George Morikami at the Bon altar (located in the Kamiya Room) and see live Taiko drumming performances on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Obon Weekend is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days in place of the museum’s annual Lantern Festival.
“With the ongoing concerns regarding the pandemic, additional COVID variants, and the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff of utmost importance, we are not holding a large-scale event,” LeMay said. “However, we find it important to still honor our ancestors and lost loved ones, which is the sole intent of the Lantern Festival, to convey the spirit of Obon.
“By celebrating Obon during actual Obon Weekend we hope to give that same platform for our visitors to share their message with their lost loved ones through a more intimate and smaller celebration. Furthermore, we are continuing to work under and comply with the county’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Special Facilities Division policy of limited attendance participation of no more than 3,000.”
For those who want to enjoy Morikami from the comfort of their own home, there is Virtual Family Fun: Kakigōri from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21. The free event will teach viewers how to make the Japanese dessert kakigōri, which is created from shaved ice and topped with condensed milk and flavored syrup. Visit morikami.org.
Lastly, a three-day workshop will occur Saturday, Aug. 28, Sept. 4 and 11. Titled “The Joy of Carving: Chirirenge Ramen Spoon Carving Workshop,” participants will learn how to contrive a ramen spoon with wood and carving tools, both of which will be provided. The classes will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with admission at $150. There is also a $20 material fee (cash payable to the instructor). The purpose of the workshop is not just to make a Japanese ramen spoon, or chirirenge, but to utilize creativity and acquire carving methods.
The museum has also added an online exhibition to its virtual library. “Let the Games Begin” showcases the cross-cultural influence of sports and interactive games found around the world.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is at 4000 Morikami Park Road. Taiko drumming performances are $5 for members and $7 for nonmembers in addition to museum admission. Museum admission pricing is free for members and children 5 and under. Age 18 and older pay $15, seniors (65 and up) pay $13 and children ages 6 to 17 pay $9. Those with a military ID get in for $13 while college students pay $11 with ID. Call 561-495-0233 or visit morikami.org.