Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Japan worshippers brave smouldering coals to pray

 Japanese worshippers prayed for the safety of themselves and their families on Sunday (March 14) by walking barefoot with Buddhist monks over smouldering coals at an annual festival near Mt. Takaosan


.The fire-walking was more tense than usual because participants were required to wear masks and maintain social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The festival was also limited to 1,000 participants. Last year, it wasn't open to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic.The monks set fire to wood and Japanese cypress leaves, creating an intense bonfire. The monks then doused the flames with water, collected the embers and laid them out in two strips, over which they walked barefoot while chanting."I have wished for the novel coronavirus to go away faster," said Eriko Nakamura, 46, as Buddhist monks chanted in the background.The number of coronavirus cases in Japan is relatively low compared to other countries such as the United States, although some areas including Tokyo are still under a state of emergency, with the country experiencing a third wave of the pandemic.

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