Shuni-e, a ceremony consisting of a series of rituals that have celebrated the coming of spring for over 1,000 years, will take place at Nara’s Todai-ji Temple this month. The rituals are performed to bring good fortune to all of those who visit.
During the two-week-long event, the Otaimatsu (fire ceremony) will be performed. Visitors gather in the temple’s Nigatsu-do Hall after sunset and wait for a priest to emerge on the balcony above. The priest then holds out torches over the crowd, who touch the sparks that fall from those torches to receive good luck.