Oniyo Matsuri (Fire Festival), Kurume, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan.
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.
Fan-bearing members of each team try in vain to keep the air above the
crowd free of flaming particles. The ash coats peoples shoulders and
burns holes through nylon jackets.