Basic Terms of Shinto 神道基本用語集
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|A festival centering around fire. Most, like the dondoyaki (a bonfire in which the New Year's gateway decorations are burned) of Little New Year's (koshôgatsu) or the o-hitaki (fire-burning) of the mid-winter festival (tôji), are held to pray for the restoration of the power of the sun. Some, such as the Hi Matsuri held at Yoshida-machi at the foot of Mount Fuji, or the Shôreisai held at Dewa Shrine in Yamagata Prefecture, possess the significance of divining the good or ill fortune of the coming year. The significance of fire in religious ceremonies is great. It is considered to be sacred, to have the power to destroy evil, and is used as a sign of the descent of a deity.