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There are other lessons I learned; most importantly when I come up against seemingly impossible challenges, I think back to my first firewalk and draw on a strength and power of focus that I never knew existed. Life will never be the same.

David Schirmer

When you hear the phrase “They walked through the fire”, it’s usually a metaphor for a particularly tough period of their life. When you talk about Firewalking, on the other, you’re quite literally talking about people who have walked through the fire, with bare feet placed upon hot coals ever step of the way.

International Firewalk Day celebrates this ancient practice and the new generation of people who have embraced it as a way to face their fears and embrace the transformation that fire can bring.

History of International Firewalk Day

The history of International Firewalk Day stretches back into pre-history, with the first records of it being done originating in 1200 BCE. Throughout the world, different cultures have embraced firewalking using it as a method of demonstrating religious devotion, an initiation into secret societies or adulthood, or as a way to promote healing through faith.

From the Sawau on Beqa Island in the Isles of Fiji to the Eastern Orthodox Christians of Greece, Firewalking is a practice that exists in just about every imaginable culture.

The secret of firewalking lay in confidence and science, not magic, however. When performed properly the layer of ash and certain properties of thermodynamics help to protect the feet from being burned. The steady, confident walk of the fire walker isn’t just bravado, it’s also a sure way to protect your feet by stepping flat-footed on the ash and pushing off evenly and slowly to ensure you don’t break the barrier between your feet and the searing hot coals beneath. Lose your cool and start rushing and you’ll almost certainly end up burning yourself; Confidence is definitely key!

How to celebrate International Firewalk Day

The best way to celebrate International Firewalk Day is by finding a group near you that has been practicing this ceremony regularly. Through careful observation and the guide of someone who knows their way around the fire walk, you’ll be able to experience the incredible and transformative effect of striding confidently across a bed of searing coals.

While the science of the practice is well known, the transformative effects cannot be discounted. Terry Pratchett said it best: “It doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works.”

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