Just as an extension to last blogpost about this Buddhist festival, here's some Taiwanese news channels take on it.
Just for your information: I'm not chewing gum. It's like my way of discussing the quality of pictures with my camera through strange face expressions.
Then, I went back for more this Saturday, and taking pictures proved to be somewhat easier during daytime. (Lots of movement going on, so I can't set shutterspeed too low.)
I weren't as smart as these guys, so the photosnapping I did while walking amongst the other people is a bit boring.
Actually I thought I'd be going to Taoyuan as that was where I heard people were going, but it turns out they already went there, then turned around and walked back. So yeah, homecoming ceremony for the goddess "in charge" will come too.
Well, you're actually very lucky, you know? Guys?
You get to see all this while not having to listen to all those explosions and get smoke and cinder in your eyes. Ack, Chinese firecrackers.
I walked with people around Taoyuan for a few hours, and as we're almost home, this god comes to greet the goddess or something like that (carried by people of course,) and he has this wagon following him that plays something like happy hardcore and some of those costume guys with spears and stuff, dancing. It was a bit of a shock to me, so I didn't manage to take any good pictures.
Later on the day, I took this picture as a wagon drove away with the costumes and sound equipment. I really wish I'd had a video of it. Really. It's just so wacky for a European who's used to this conservative and serious Christianity stuff being all that is about religion, and then come to see Buddhist gods/spirits hold a rave welcome party for their friend.
Actually, while everyone were walking towards the temple, the raving gods were walking the other way, so didn't get to see much of it.
Shortly after, I caught up with some of the troops in front, such as Mr. Dragon here.
All the way, they were walking in front of the group, dancing and stuff, but they're about to perform soon, so they'd like all the followers to get into the place in front of the temple first, so as to have some audience.
Serious as always. This guy is called 千里眼 - Qianli Yen / Chien Li Yien - which means "Thousand Miles Eye". You could say he's a kind of general. So is his reverted-color counterpart. (That other dude with red skin and a green hat.)
Have to say: I have a suspicion that less people are here today than last week. Not that there isn't still incredibly many.
Lots of people yah.
Am not looking forward to see these fireworks go off.
And the temples goddess is back. While walking, I talked with a girl who had lived in Britain and found out some more info on this celebration. The goddess that is celebrated here is called Mazu and she's in originally in charge of the sea and a pretector of those who make a living there such as fishermen and traders. Actually she's kind of a guiding deity that will help you to decide, if you are in doubt of where to go in your life. She has been getting a big increase in popularity over the last few tens of years, going from just being a goddess protecting people at sea to be more of a patron.
There you go. Dragon dance in a much nicer quality.
I love this picture.
And this one too. Especially this one caught a lot of details. Perhaps I could send it in for the photographing competition. They have a first prize of 30.000 NT$ for the photographer who takes the best picture.
This drunkard guy turned out to be a god for the working class. Or maybe just generally for work related business (more manual labour I guess.) And that's why he's drinking. It's not like he's representing something bad or shameful. He's just drunk because, I don't know, because life is hard and because that's what many people with more manual labour do. (I'm been living in some blue areas of the city the last many months and I see empty beer bottles everywhere there's been some space for construction workers and the like to sit down.
This is 順風耳 - Shun Feng Er - Which means something like tailwind ear. Probably he can use the wind to listen to very distant sounds or something. Story is that this guy and the other green dude were demons that Mazu subdued. Now they're her loyal guardians and friends.
After some free Buddhist veggie food, festives were kind of over. A lot of people lingered there a while after, playing music and praying to the goddess. (Asking for guidance I guess?)
This is not the one, just by the way. At least, I don't think so, judging on her headdress and the fact that Mazu is sitting in the temple now.
By the exit road, the people in costumes would be giving out free candy. By the time I went home though, I was too caught up with a tiny cinder that flew into my eye just as I was about to jump into the car to go back home. Damn.
Look at this guy. He brought two cameras! Either that's really pro or just really funny!I hope he wont take away that prize from me. (But I guess competition is pretty hard already with all those people with cameras.)
I like this picture too, for some reason.
And there she is, the goddess. You can recognise her by the characteristic hat she has. That goes for many of the Buddhist gods and deities. You could look up Mazu on wikipedia if you're interested in this kind of stuff. I think there's about one thousand or more temples dedicated to her in Taiwan.