- 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. Brian Bocking.
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Hi-matsuri — Fire festival. A collective term for festivals which involve fire, destroyer of evil and symbol of the descent of divine power. They are held for example to pray for the return of the sun after winter and to dispel evil influences, and are… … A Popular Dictionary of Shinto
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Natsu-matsuri — Summer festivals . A collective term for the numerous mainly small scale village festivals held in the summer, ostensibly to guard crops against pests and adverse conditions. There are some major natsu matsuri held at Kyoto shrines, notably… … A Popular Dictionary of Shinto
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