This festival is the traditional event that tell the early spring in ancient capital Nara.
Mt.Wakakusa(342m ht) is the gradual mountain covered with the grasses all over. Usually deers are eating grasses or playing on it lazily.
There are some origin of this grass fires festival. According to legend, this mountain has an ancient tomb on the top of the mountain. So there was a superstition that Ghosts of this tomb scared people a long time ago. People thought if they don't burn this mountain to sooth the soul of ancient, unfavorable affair would happen. So someone set fire and the next year,too and the next year,too........It continued.
It was the festival for woodmen to comfort the soul or make offerings.
Mt.Wakakusa lies to near Kasuga shrine, Todaiji-temple, Kofukuji-temple in Nara park in Nara city. These temples and shrine are listed on World Heritage Site and big ones. Now the wood men's festival fixed as the festival that divines of these two temples and a shrine gather and comfort ancestors or pray peace for people.
A procession came near Mt. Wakakusa. The procession consists of players of Japanese musical instruments, Buddhist monk soldiers, monks play tritons, Nara government officials in those days and monks or attendants of Kasuga-shrine,Todaiji-temple,Kofukuji-temple.
They got fire from the small sacred fire in Kasuga-shrine to their torches there.
|A Shinto priest gives the sacred fire from Kasuga-shrine(it's inside the box at the center)|
|They got fire that kasuga-taisya put|
They carried torches at the foot of Mt.Wakakusa and lighted the bonfire with their torches. Sutra recitation was begun by monks of Kasuga-shrine,Todaiji-temple,Kofukuji-temple.
|The party go to the big bonfire in front of Mt.Wakakusa|
After that, they carried torches to the big bonfire in front of Mt.Wakakusa and lighted it.
|They lighted the big bonfire|
Following that, fireworks were displayed. The whole spectators burst into cheers. We enjoyed the wink colorful flowers in the winter sky. But I had stiff shoulders. Which fireworks do you like?
|The small lights over there are fire men|
Lots of firemen got fire to their torches from the big bonfire and spread on the mountain,taking torches. They lighted the dead grasses together.
The fire run in the grasses and burst into a blaze in the winter night sky.
|Thank you firefighters|
|The fire caught the next field|
|The fire grows to the top of the mountain|
The small sacred fire brought from Kasuga-shrine expanded the whole mountain.
Accidentally I turned round, I could see the light in Nara city. Similarly people in most of Nara city can look up this fire. People has been watching this fire from the old days. Thanks to people's effort that has been keeping this grass fires, we can touch the culture in the remote past of Nara.
I've been living in Nara city for 25years. This festival made me feel again that Nara is great.
|The light in Nara city|
|Aesthetic sash at a distance|
Wish you all blessed days from Mt.Wakakusa!
This post is linked Our World Tuesday.