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Is Burning Man a Pagan Rite? A Contemporary Woodstock? You Decide

The 2013 Burning Man Festival Is Aug. 26-Sept. 3

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Burning Man festival

A fireball billows up from a 52-foot tall wooden man at the end of the 2000 Burning Man festival. The annual festival takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Burning Man. Is it a festival? A Pagan rite? An art event? Trying to define the annual Burning Man gathering is like trying to describe what an art festival designed around a bonfire looks like.

Burning Man, which appears to have started informally in 1986 and now draws thousands from around the world, is a temporary community in a remote Nevada Desert where participants combine artistic and personal freedom. In short: it's an intriguing way to step out of one's normal lifestyle for up to eight days.

If you want to see for yourself, read the Burning Blog, which describes what is happening at this year's Burning Man festival.

In an Rolling Stone magazine cover story, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert said he was inspired to audition for the singing competition after he had a "psychedelic experience" while attending the Burning Man festival. Was he one of the 48,000 who went to Burning Man in 2008 for a "timeout" from their normal lives?

Burning Man is a ?

Molly Steenson, a participant and one-time web team member for the Burning Man website, has a wonderful description of this experience. "You belong here and you participate....You're there to breathe art..... Since nobody at Burning Man is a spectator, you're here to build your own new world....You're here to celebrate.

On Saturday night, we'll burn the Man. As the procession starts, the circle forms, and the man ignites, you experience something personal, something new to yourself, something you've never felt before. It's an epiphany, it's primal, it's newborn....When you depart from Burning Man, you leave no trace. " For the complete essay, click on What is Burning Man? by Molly Steenson.

About.com's Reno/Tahoe Guide is a 5X Burner

Standley White, About.com's guide to the Reno/Tahoe area, has been to Burning Man five times. Here's a link to his piece suggesting where to get Burning Man supplies in Reno. Here is Standley's link to lots of pictures which show the unique aspects of Burning Man.

The Burning Man 2013 Art Theme is Cargo Cult.

The 2013 Burning Man gathering is August 26- September 3 at Black Rock City's Black Rock Desert.

History of Burning Man

Burning Man began as a small gathering on a San Francisco beach. In 2008, more than 48,000 people showed up for the Burning Man gathering in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, where for one week participants are removed from their ordinary lives and challenged to express themselves and create art.

Images of Burning Man Gatherings

To see photos of the art created at Burning Man visit images.

First-Timers Guide to Burning Man

For more information about attending Burning Man visit First-Timers Guide to Burning Man.

Burning Man Ticket Information

For details about tickets for Burning Man visit Burning Man The demand this year is greater than ever before and when the tickets are gone - you're out of luck!

Burning Man Home Page

To learn more about this unique gathering visit Burning Man.

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