A Blazing Vernal Rite: Nara’s Tōdaiji Celebrates Omizutori Festival (Japan in Photos)

A time-lapse photo captures the course of monks as parishioners carry kagotaimatsu (pine torches) along the corridors of the Nigatsudō of Tōdaiji in Nara Prefecture in the late hours of March 12, 2017. The Omizutori, or “water-drawing” festival, is part of Shunie, a series of spring rites held each year from March 1–14. Sparks from the torches are thought to drive away malicious forces and ensure health in the year ahead. The festival takes its name from the fact that following the procession of flames monks draw water from a well and offer it to the hall’s central image of the 11-faced Kannon. First carried out in 752, this year marked the 1,266th time the ritual has been observed. (© Jiji)

World Heritage Todaiji festival Nara