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A geisha prepares green tea during the annual Baikasai, the Plum Blossom Festival, at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. The festival commemorates enshrined Michizane Sugawara, a politician and plum blossom aficionado of the Heian period, who died in the year 903
People pray on the first day of business in 2014 at the Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Japanese equities rallied more than any other developed market last year, as prime minister Shinzo Abe boosted stimulus to stoke inflation and spur growth in the world’s third-biggest economy
Shinto priests leave the Torii gate of the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, after administering the rite of Kiyoharai on the first day of the four-day autumn festival, on Thursday. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has donated a symbolic gift to the controversial war shrine, an apparent sign that he will avoid a visit that would have angered China and South Korea.
Devotees of the Chao Pho Kuan U shrine carry a statue through exploding firecrackers during a street procession marking the annual vegetarian festival in Phang Nga, Thailand, on Thursday. The festival, featuring face-piercing, spirit mediums and strict vegetarianism celebrates the local Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
A Hindu holy man smokes as he waits to register for the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine in Jammu, India, on Friday. Thousands of pilgrims annually visit the remote Himalayan shrine at 3,888 meters above sea level to worship an icy stalagmite representing Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Read more
A Shiite woman prays at the Imam Moussa al-Kadhim shrine at Kazimiyah district of Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday. Tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are converging on a golden-domed Shiite shrine in northern Baghdad to commemorate the death of a revered Shiite Muslim saint. Security is tight after a wave of deadly attacks.
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Japanese women dressed in traditional costumes walk in the procession of the Aoi Festival at the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan. Aoi Festival is one of the three main festivals of ancient capital of Kyoto and dates back 1,400 years. About 500 participants dressed as nobles of the Heian Period (794-1185), walk with decorated ox carts and horses for about 8km from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines.