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flowers and greenery, and prepare them for the spirits’ arrival. Most families also make offerings of fruit, rice, incense, and other pleas­ ant gifts, both at the gravesite and at the household altar. On the first night of the festival, Japanese families go to local graveyards. As night falls, they light lanterns and carry them home, hanging them outside the door to guide the spirits. They may also light a welcoming bonfire, called mukaebi. Then the family shares a festive meal, which always includes the favorite foods of departed ancestors. During the days of the festival, nearly every town and city cele­ brates with bon-odori, traditional rhythmic dances accompanied by folk singing and the taiko drum. The taiko drummer stands on a


Cooking the way japanese  
Cooking the way japanese