Dondoyaki is a fire festival that takes place on January 15th.
According to the lunar calendar, January 15th is the first full moon day of the new year, so it can be said to be a fire festival held on the night of the full moon in the new year.
There are various names for this festival depending on the region, such as Tondo-yaki, Donto-yaki, Dosojin Matsuri, and Onihi-taki.
Three or four long bamboos are set up in a field, a large vacant lot, or in the precincts of a shrine.
It is considered a children’s festival, and children are mainly responsible for collecting and assembling the decorations.
The mysterious name “Dondoyaki” comes from various theories such as “because it burns more and more”.
It is said to have originated from a court event called “Sagicho” in the Heian period (794-1185).
There is a legend that if you eat dumplings roasted in the fire of Dondoyaki, you will be healthy for a year and pray for good health and a good harvest.
The dumplings have different characteristics depending on the region, such as tricolor dumplings or dumplings stuck in the branches of a Japanese pagoda tree.
It is said that if you take the ashes of shimekazari and other decorations home and spread them around your house, it will ward off illness for the year.
It is also said that if the flames rise high when you burn your first calligraphy, your writing will improve.
It is also said to be a way to send off the New Year’s kamis with flames by burning them after welcoming them with kadomatsu and shimekazari.
Although opportunities for local people to get together are decreasing, our ancestors may have confirmed the unity of the community by holding a fire festival.
Returning the New Year’s decorations to shapeless ashes, perhaps they were also concerned about the environment.