Winter in the Japanese region of Kansai seems like a good enough excuse to start fires, but in Nara, they point out and blame history for setting fires on a hill called Yamayaki every year. The event dates back to the Kamakura period between 1185 and 1333.
It is believed that this ritual began to rid farmland of pests and dead plants, and to prepare the land for new growth in the spring. This is a preparation for a new life in a beautiful scene.
In celebration, a bonfire is lit with the sacred fire at Taisha Shrine, and monks carry it in procession to the foot of Yamayaki Hill, where a large fire is lit and the fire usually lasts for about 30 minutes before setting off fireworks.