Don't Sigh!

On my way home from the Dress-up party, I happened upon a festival taking place near my home. At our local Shrine, Yakushido (薬師堂の神社), several stalls had been set up selling all manner of snacks and goodies.

But more importantly, there was a huge bonfire and all of the locals tossed in their New Year's decorations. It was a cozy blaze to warm-up the chilly night, but there was a slight hint of burnt plastic in the air which prompted me to soon depart.

This festival is called どんと祭 (donto sai) and according to this is "... a ritual in which residents bring New Year's decorations such as pine trees, sacred ropes and daruma dolls to local shrines and pray for business prosperity, good health and protection from disaster while burning the decorations over a large bonfire."
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn't get to observe the
裸参り (Hadaka Mairi = Naked Pilgrimage), maybe next year.

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