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.
When the six giant torches, called Taimatsu, are set afire, they are
bright enough to light up the entire crowd. The fires produce an
enormous amount of heat. Pieces of ash and bits of flaming wood fly
through the crowd. The men in loincloths somehow manage to keep the
torches under control with branches and sticks.