2002 - Jean-Philippe
www.jpsviewfinder.com & www.nativeplanet.org
/ Location: Kurume, Fukuoka
The Oniyo Festival is a Shinto ritual to expel evil spirits and epidemics. It is one of the three largest fire festivals in Japan along with Kurama Fire Festival in Kyoto and Nachi Fire Festival in Wakayama.
The festival has its origin in a 1600-year-old legend. It is now held every year on January 7 at the Daizenji Tamatare-gu Shrine.
The roaring flames and crackling wood produces an incredible noise that stirs up the crowd into a frenzy. After lighting the six giant torches, men jump up and down with their arms raised in the air yelling triumphantly, "Banzai, Banzai!".