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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Written by Joe Pickard
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Hiwatari Matsuri, or Fire Walking Festival is held at Mount Takao, Japan.  The event is dedicated to the Tengu, or mountain spirit and is for purification and renewal.  Monks light a massive bonfire and then douse it with water until the flames are quelled.  They then throw people's prayers, which are written on wood tablets, into the fire.  Just before the monk's cross the fire, they flagellate themselves with bamboo in boiling water.  Then, two by two the monks cross the burning hot coals.  To finish the festival, all the onlookers line up and walk the coals, now substantially cooler, and receive a blessing from the head monks.  With a final prayer to the mountain spirits, the monks head back into the mountains from which they came.

Golden Tengu, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Golden Tengu

Lighting the Fire, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Lighting the Fire

Beating Back the Flames, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Beating Back the Flames

Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Too Hot

 


 

Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Raw Heat

Prayers Feed the Flames, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Prayers Feed the Flames

Flagellation, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Flagellation

Monk Accessories, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Monk Accessories

 


 

Fire Walker, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Fire Walker

Crossing the Coals, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Crossing the Coals

Walkers in Waiting, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Walkers in Waiting

Monk and Child, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Monk and Child

 


 

Receiving a Blessing, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Receiving a Blessing

Praying Monk, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Praying Monk

Retreating to the Mountains, Hiwatari Matsuri: Fire Walking Festival - A Photo Essay

Retreating to the Mountains

©Joe Pickard

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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