Japanese New Year celebration lasts longer than that of most other countries, but by now people are wrapping it up and slowly getting back to normal business. I went to Dondo Yaki fire festival near the Anbo Port, where people bring their New Year’s decoration and burn them off in a big pile.
It’s been a long while since I’ve been to one of these, not since my elementary school years. You can take all kinds of things that you used to decorate your house, office, or car for welcoming the new year. When I was a kid, I remember burning Japanese calligraphy work I did for the first time in the year too.
The purpose of the festival is to send off the god of the year (Toshigami/歳神) which was greeted with those special decoration. It’s also a practical event – you get a chance to clean up and switch your mind to the after-holiday mode.