A pine-branch torch or flambeau. Used especially in night-time and autumn fire festivals (hi-matsuri), these serve to illuminate and purify with fire the route of a procession (shinko-shiki). At the same time their use makes the rite in part a fire-festival, and in many cases very large and unwieldy taimatsu up to one and a half metres across may be carried by young men during festivals as a rite of manhood. In contemporary Japan anti-pollution laws mean that taimatsu cannot always be lit, in which case they are symbolised by straw wrapped round poles, and the festival may take place in daylight.

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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