Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
I hope you did like our CD Special episode, the first by Michael Dylan Welch, and that it has inspired you to write/compose wonderful haiku. I have read already a few submissions and they were awesome.
In this festive month of CDHK in which we celebrate our third anniversary we will visit all Japanese Festivals through out the whole country. Japan has a wonderful history of celebrations and festivals and there over 100.000 festivals all around Japan. Every town, every little village, every prefecture has it's own festivals and celebrations. A lot of those celebrations have to do with fire and today we are visiting a festival in Nara (former capital of Japan, back in the 8th century).
Japan's first permanent capital was established in the year 710 at Heijo, the city now known as Nara. As the influence and political ambitions of the city's powerful Buddhist monasteries grew to become a serious threat to the government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784.
Nara is located less than one hour from Kyoto and Osaka. Due to its past as the first permanent capital, it remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan's oldest and largest temples.
|Credits: Todaiji Temple Nara|
The festival of today starts at Todaiji Temple and is called Wakakusa Yamayaki (Burning down Mount Wakakusa). Let me tell you a little bit more about this festival.
|Credits: Priests preparing Wakakusa Yamayaki|
Around 17:30 a large bonfire is lit at the base of Mount Wakakusa. Priests gather around the bonfire for a while. At 18:00 there's a fireworks show. Afterwards, the priests use the bonfire to light torches. They proceed a short distance up the mountain in a procession and light the grass on fire.
smoke swirls from the green grass
pleasing the gods
Here is a short video (15 minutes) about this year's Wakakusa Yamayaki at Nara.
I like this festival. I never had heard from this festival, but it sounds and looks great. I hope it will inspire you to write an all new haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form.