Koyasan Candle Festival

Mandōkuyō-e 萬燈供養会
Candle Festival
When: August 13th
Where: Okunoin, Koyasan

Rows of candles line the pathways in Okunoin

Rows of candles line the pathways in Okunoin

The Candle Festival, formally known as the Mandōkuyō-e 萬燈供養会, memorializes the spirits of the ancestors with worshippers adorning a sacred road from Ichinobashi to Okunoin with candles. Mandō 萬燈 (also written as 万灯) literally means ten thousand lights, and kuyō 供養 means a prayer ritual that involves making offerings. The sight of the lights of 100,000 candles floating along the roadside is magical, and the line of lights glistening against the pitch black sky is a special feature of summer at Koyasan. It is an Obon お盆 event, where the ancestors are imagined as the glow of the lights.

Other locations where the Candle Festival, Mantōkuyō, is celebrated include Daigoji (August 5th), Shitennoji in Osaka and Todaiji in Nara.

Categories: Events, Rituals

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