The 34th annual Burning Man began this week in its usual home of Black Rock City, a temporary city built just for the festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. This year’s festival runs from August 27 until September 4. Over 70,000 people are expected to attend the festival by the time the city shuts down.

Burning Man News

Like every year prior, this year’s Burning Man has a theme. This year, “Radical Ritual” will influence the dress, practices, and art brought to the festival. As described by the organizers, the theme asks that festival-goers “create interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, temples and visions.”

So far, participants have lived up to the call. Images from the event show groups of men and women dressed in spiritually-inspired clothing bringing shrines to various pieces of artwork.

The website continues to describe the festival’s theme. “Burning Man is permeated with rituals. These rites speak of soulful need; the desire to belong to a place, to belong to a time, to belong to one another, and to belong to something that is greater than ourselves, even in the midst of impermanence. Throughout all ages temples have been built in order to induce these feelings.”

The festival, which began in 1986 with the simple burning of a 8-foot-tall statue of a man, has now graduated to the ritual burning of a statue anywhere between 40 to 100-feet tall.

What makes Burning Man special and what separates it from many of its contemporaries, is the land on which it is held. An airport is built in the desert and completely taken down by the end of the festival. One of the festival’s core tenants is that participants leave no trace by the time the festivities come to a close.

Burning Man continues through Monday, September 4.

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