March 15 is “Nehane” (anniversary of Buddha’s death), which is considered to be the day the Buddha died. In fact, the Buddha’s death date is February 15 of the old calendar, and the new calendar date is about March 15, one month later. “Nehanzu” (an image of a recumbent Buddha) will be released at Seiryoji Temple as well as Tofukuji Temple, Sennyuji Temple, Shinnyodo, Honpoji Temple, etc.
“Otaimatsu” (torch) at Seiryo-ji Temple burns up the night sky with three rows of about 7 meters in height. It is one of Kyoto’s three major fire festivals, along with the “Kurama Fire Festival” and “Gozan Okuribi“. The three Otaimatsu show the types of rice, “Wase”, “Nakate” and “Okute” respectively. By the burning of torches, the success / failure of rice of the year is foreseen. In addition, it is said that it makes sense to honor the Buddha’s death.
The ring that ties the torch represents the face of “Tengu” (long-nosed goblin), and the long knot is the nose of Tengu. Tengu seems to be asked for good weather and good harvest. In addition, the number represents 12 each month, which is 13 in the leap year.
Also, separately from Otaimatsu, a lottery will be held to determine the height of the 13 high hanging lanterns. The high and low of this lantern represents the high and low of the market price of rice, and after the lottery, the lantern will be lined up at the height of the year, and it will be raised in the main hall. It seems that it is better for the lanterns to be raised higher, but the price of rice will soar in the high month. So the low month will be appreciated by the common people, and those who sell will still feel better. There are also 13 months worth of lanterns, and you can see the remnants of the leap moon.
On the other hand, it is a past story that has already forecasted the market price of rice, and there are also documents that say that the stock price is high and low now. If so, the higher one is likely to be appreciated contrary to the market price of rice.
Well, to see the “Otaimatsu-shiki” (Torches Festival), it is more important not to stand downwind. When the fire comes on, the flame that has risen very rapidly flies a lot of fire powder. If you are downwind, you will not be able to stand because you will be wearing fire powder and blowing hot air. There is a tendency for the wind to fly in the precincts, but please secure the safety direction by watching the flow of clouds. In the average year, the wind flows in the south-east direction with the Niomon gate.
At the Seiryoji Temple (Saga Shakado) in Kyoto Sagano, “Fire Festival” is held on March 15 every year to announce the spring. It is called “Kyoto Three Great Fire Festival” together with the autumn “Kurama Fire Festival”, the midsummer “Gozan Okuribi”. This is a traditional event that sets fire on a large torch with a height of 7 meters set in the premises of Seiryoji Temple, to tell fortunes the wealth of agricultural crops of the year due to the strength of the fire.
Seiryoji Temple in Saga-ku, Kyoto-shi is a temple of Jodo sect and is a temple known as Sagashakado (Shakado Hall) with the mountain name called Godaisan. It is a historical old temple with treasure of numerous important cultural assets, including the Buddha statue of national treasure.
Every March 15th, at Seiryoji Temple, Nehane Ritual (anniversary of Buddha’s death) and Otaimatsu-shiki are held from around 20 o’clock. Otaimatsu-shiki ignites the three torches of 7 meters in height, and it does fortune-telling the abundance of agricultural crops of that year due to the strength of the fire.
People does not gather so much yet around 18 o’clock when dusk begins, so you can go close to the torches and see the size of them.
Around 20 o’clock, the row of large paper lantern on a pole came to the square in the precincts where the giant pine torches are installed from the main hall, and at the signal the event of Otaimatsu starts. First of all, a fire is put in the gomadan (an altar used in homa fire rituals), and a tremendous smoke rises. After that, the fire of gomadan is transferred to the giant pine torches in turn, and the flame burns from the torch in a blink of an eye.
From any place in the precincts you can see the burning fire. Especially when you come close to a big torch, you can see how much sparks that you think would probably burn the night sky curl up in the sky. The momentum of the big torch’s fire will weaken in about 30 minutes and the ceremony will end at 21 o’clock.
|Name:||Otaimatsu-shiki (Torches Festival)|
|Address:||Sagashakadofujinokicho 46 Kyoto Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8447 Japan|
|Access:||JR Sanin-honsen Line “Saga-Arashiyama-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)|