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Japanese Canadians belong to many different religions, including Buddhism, an ancient religion practised by many Asians and non-Asians around the world. Others are members of Christian churches (such as Roman Catholic and Protestant), while still others are not members of any particular religious organization.
Japanese-Canadian families observe all the official Canadian holidays. For some, New Year's Day is just as important as Christmas. During Oshogatsu (New Year's), Japanese Canadians enjoy lots of special food prepared only for this holiday. It is a time for families to gather and thank all those friends who have helped them throughout the year.
For Buddhists, Obon, the Festival of Lights, is a significant celebration. From July to September, Buddhists get together, usually in a park or city square. They dance traditional folk dances to recorded music or to live musicians playing the taiko (drums), fue (flute) and shamisen (a banjo-like instrument). The dancers, dressed in their colourful kimono, circle a yagura or tower where the musicians sit, to express gratitude to their ancestors.