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Daimon-ji bonfires

On August 16, when night comes over Kyoto, the surrounding mountains light up with huge Chinese characters that set the night of fire!

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Right after O-bon celebrations for the souls of the ancestors, Daimon-ji bonfires – Daimon-ji Gozan Okuribi in Japanese – light up for one last good bye. Big characters are set on fire in the mountains:

  • dai (meaning “big”) on mount Daimon-ji
  • myô and hô which form the word myôhô ("Buddha’s wonderful teaching") on mounts Matsugasaki Nishiyama and Higashiyama
  • funa-gata pattern (in the shape of a boat) on mount Funayama in Nishi-Kamo
  • torii-gata pattern (in the shape of a torii, the traditional gate of Shinto sanctuaries) on mount Manadarayama in Saga
 
 

All the bonfires light up at the same time at night on August 16. The character lines measure up to over 150 meters. In all, 75 bonfires burn for 30 minutes.

An old saying says that to be protected from illness, you need to drink sake or water that night, and see the reflections of the fire characters in your glass.

 
 

Tags :

  • Culture & traditions
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