Bonfires Drastically Scaled-Back This SummerSeen as Points of Flame from Kyoto City; COVID-19 Countermeasures
"Gozan no Okuribi," a traditional Kyoto bonfire event held annually on August 16 to send off the ancestral spirits that were welcomed back during the O-bon holidays, will be held on a greatly reduced scale this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision was announced on July 27 by the "Kyoto Gozan Okuribi Rengokai," the union of five associations that preserve the bonfires.
At a press conference held at Kyoto City Hall, the president of the union explained the reason for significantly scaling back the bonfires was to "prevent crowds of citizens and tourists and close contact between members of the associations." At the same time, he said that the bonfires should be held even at a reduced scale to pass on the long-held tradition to future generations. None of the bonfires will reach the size of usual years, which used to allow them to be viewable from the city area.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)