ceremony is part of a festival called Omizutori (Water-Drawing Ceremony).
It takes place every year on the balcony of Nigatsudo Temple in Nara.
a very substantial crowd gathered outside to watch the ceremony,
a single torch-bearing monk comes out onto the balcony. He is soon
followed by many others. Each torch looks like a huge tumbleweed
on a stick.
They parade around the balcony
until suddenly they begin madly
spinning the huge torches and running around the balcony!
The objective of
the dance is to shake embers upon the crowd; they believe that the flying
sparks have purifying powers.
Quite a large crowd showed up for the spectacle, but as you can see, the
area directly below the temple has been closed off to prevent injuries.
There were so many glowing
embers that at times it seemed there
was a steady waterfall
of fire coming over the temple balcony!
Afraid to say not too many of the people were able to be
"purified" due to the fence restriction. This must have been
a really crazy festival back in the day when there was no fence!