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1:00 AM 4th November 2023

Do You Know About These Other Fire Festivals Celebrated Across The World?

Image by Csar-Fotografie from Pixabay
Image by Csar-Fotografie from Pixabay
Bonfire Night is a key date in the British calendar, which commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 orchestrated by Guy Fawkes.

Even though this firework spectacular is only celebrated in the UK and a handful of Commonwealth nations, other countries do have their own traditional celebrations which involve fire.

With this in mind, the team at Preply have listed the other fire festivals that are celebrated annually around the globe.

Daizenji Tamataregu Shrine’s Oniyo - Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka is one of Japan's largest cities and is known for hosting one of the country's oldest fire festivals.

At the Daizenji Tamataregu Shrine, the ancient Oniyo (Fire Festival) ritual takes place, and its aim is to banish evil spirits.

Contrary to the UK's Bonfire Night, this event occurs annually in early January. During the ceremony, a sacred 'devil fire' which is preserved within the temple is transferred on the seventh day of the month (January 7) to six enormous torches.

A group of men then transport these torches around the shrine's grounds. While this might sound like a potential safety concern, it is believed to bring good luck if ash from the torches falls upon the grounds.

Quema del Diablo (Burning of the Devil) - Guatemala

Early December marks the Guatemalans preparing for the festive season by getting the devil from their homes and burning him in the streets.

This tradition dates back to at least the 1700s and locals say that it is a form of a spiritual cleanse.

Guatemala City and Antigua best observe this historic tradition, but many towns throughout Guatemala host similar ceremonies.

Ottery St Mary - Devon, England

Although the tradition of Bonfire Night is generally celebrated the same way across the UK, the small town of Ottery St Mary in Devon takes a different approach.

November 5 marks the local townspeople carrying flaming barrels of tar throughout the streets.

The barrels are traditionally set on fire at pubs and hotels around the town and a strict schedule is followed until the final barrel is carried into the square at midnight.

Up Helly Aa, Lerwick - Shetland Islands, Scotland

Known as the fire festival run by Vikings, the annual Up Helly Aa in Scotland certainly means business.

Held on the last Tuesday of January, nearly 1,000 men march in ranks, carrying fencing posts. At precisely 7.30 pm, the festival starts, seeing torches lit and bands beginning to play.

The men then march with the Guiezer Jarl (the head of the festival) who stands at the helm of a longship. The Guiezer Jarl then leaves for the ship to be set alight, which marks the finale of the festival before the Vikings head back to the halls.

Diwali - India - Image by kamodayz from Pixabay
Diwali - India - Image by kamodayz from Pixabay
Diwali - India

One of the more well-known fire festivals, the Hindu festival of Diwali is known as the festival of lights.

Diwali (or Deepavali) means “rows of lighted lamps” and during this time, houses, shops and public places are decorated with oil lamps, while feasts are prepared and fireworks light up the sky.

Jeongwol Daeboreum Deulbul Festival - Jeju, S. Korea

On the island of Jeju off the coast of South Korea, the Jeongwol Daeboreum Deulbul Festival takes place in early February.

This celebration involves farmers setting fire to the fields in the mountains to destroy old grass and kill harmful insects.

This practice aims to pray for health and welcome a good harvest to the coming year.

Image by 11099539 from Pixabay
Image by 11099539 from Pixabay