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Monday, 3rd March 2014
In Events In Japan,

Nara ceremony welcomes spring

Spring has officially sprung in Japan, with the annual torch ceremony heralding the arrival of the warmer season last weekend (March 1st ) at Todaiji Temple in the ancient city of Nara

The traditional fire and water ceremony is called Omizuton and has been performed since the 8th century in the same place every year.

During the main Otaimatsu ritual, ten monks slowly climb the long stone stairway of the temple's Nigatsudo hall, guided by torches placed atop six-metre sticks that weigh around 40 kilograms each.

These present a fantastic spectacle and will be lit every day until March 14th. The ceremony itself involves praying for national stability for the coming year and is performed in the Nigatsudo Hall.

Japan has a vibrant calendar of celebrations and events throughout its calendar, with the ones to look out for including Obon - the festival of the dead - and the Gion Matsuri.

Written by Mark Smith


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