Tokyobling's Blog

Burning Daruma – New Year’s Ritual Fire

Posted in Japanese Traditions, Places by tokyobling on January 2, 2012

Right after the start of the new year, instead of hurrying towards the exit of the over crowded temple compound I made my way towards the main building to try and find the ritual pyre. Most bigger shrines and some temples arrange a pyre where they burn the talismans, votive plaques and good luck charms or any other things related to religion that people want to throw away. In Japanese this is called Otakiage (お焚きあげ), It’s considered very bad to simply throw out religious objects in the common garbage, instead people give their objects to these places where staff will keep they pyre going for as long as necessary. In some places it is over in an hour or so but I was told that this fire would be burning until the next morning as they had over a ton of items, books and wooden objects to burn. When one of the staff members carried a huge daruma doll towards the fire I just had to take a picture of it. The daruma doll is a talisman that you get in order for it bring you success in a special endeavor. When the endeavor has been accomplished it is time to pass the daruma forward by having it burnt at your temple or shrine. Another thing commonly burnt are the long wooden prayer sticks you find at graves.

7 Responses

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  1. andy1076 said, on January 2, 2012 at 3:44 am

    This ritual seems to be very popular among the asian countries 🙂


    • tokyobling said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:02 am

      It sure is! (^-^)


  2. Moony said, on January 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    The first picture it’s really shocking!!! and all this made me think a lot… you know? In my country happens the same with the patriot symbols. It’s bad luck to throw them away like garbage, so when our flag is way too much damaged, we burn it.


    • tokyobling said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:06 am

      Oh yes, I think most countries are like that when it comes to patriotic symbols. (^-^)


  3. D... said, on January 3, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Happy New Year!!!!

    Why are pictures of fires just so amazing. I always thought that fire is like an animal, a scary untamable animal. The men in masks should be called fire wranglers. Really interesting story, the talisman once his gift is bestowed he must be destroyed. My imagination is running wild.


    • tokyobling said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:10 am

      Happy new year D! Thank you for hte kind comment! Yes, I love shooting fires too. I have quite a few of them in my collection! I always give impossible wishes to my talismans so I never have to put them in the fire! (^-^;) Like world peace and such…!


      • D... said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:35 am

        I think I would secretly pick outlandish dreams just so I wouldn’t have to burn my talisman.


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