Lantern at Kasuga Grand Shrine (1)
Every year, special Lantern lightening ceremony called "Man Toro (万灯籠）" are held at Kasuga taisha Shrine in Nara.
About 1,000 hanging metal lanterns and 2,000 stone lanterns have been donated by the worshipers in many classes, who honor and adore the gods of Kasuga taisha Shrine.
Donators vary from aristocrats, powerful samurai warriors, Shogun (military leader), business owners, and ordinary families.
Their wishes also different from each other, such as "home safety”, "good fortune in battles", "successful business", "peace and prosperity of the nation", "good health and longevity", "ancestors’s souls' repose in the next world " etc.
This custom continues even today, so you can find new golden metal lanterns among many of the old pale green ones in the compound of the shrine.
As in most religious ceremonies, since ancient times, fire was used to purify the sites, to greet and honor the gods and Bddhas and to light the pathway s to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.
It is believed to drive away evil spirits that might bring sickness and misfortune.
On the night of February 3rd, the Setsubun day or the day before spring according to the lunar calendar, all 3,000 lanterns both metallic ones and ones made of stones are lit candles one by one.
They make a beautiful and calm atmosphere all though the approach and the compound.