So, I just reestablished connection after my periodical strategic relocation of the HQ to tell you about some interesting stuff happening around here these days.
The last two days, a Buddhist temple in Wanhua (Southwestern Taipei City) called Ching San Kong has been having it's yearly festival with activities all day long, and today it ended with a big parade to celebrate that certain temples god whose birthday is today. It was not a festival by the other much bigger temple, Longshan Temple which is also located in the Wanhua district, yet it was still one of the destinations of the parade. - I did read some posters advertising for an upcoming festival by Longshan Temple in the near future, so there might be more like that to cover soon.
They started about noon and, while I am writing, haven't even stopped yet. They're going to continue untill 12 in the night where they will finally reach to their home temple. Impressive is barely describing enough.
And you can be pretty sure to know about the parade's presence, as the will be a lot of noise, not just from the people to play music, but especially from the firecrackers they fire off everywhere. If you go to see this kind of festival, be careful you don't step to close to them. Their sound is really strong and your ears will hurt if you don't hold them when you are close to the firecrackers when they go off.
You can also know for sure if the parade has been to a place already, as it will be covered in ritual papers and remains of the used firecrackers.
This was in the afternoon, but still a lot of people were there already. Since the parade walks by on the road, a lot of traffic jam occurs. They do have traffic coordinators there to help them keep everyone safe and away from the fireworks though.
This guy seemed quite strange for me. He must be another god or spirit, but he is walking far behind all the other guys in the parade with a strange basked. I wonder what kind of entity he is?
Even though it's just one temple that is holding the festival, the parade will go around to all the temples in the area to pay their respect. Behind the ghosts who walk in the front of the parade (those are the big guys with black, green and red faces and a very unique uniform), there is also a group of young people who will go and play the drum for the gods in the temple, and finally there is a group of people who drive a cart with the god inside. Maybe he's touring around to say hi to all his friends on his birthday actually?
I walked around the area with my new chinese teacher for quite some time as you can see. Mainly following and trying to get a better view of the parade.
This is by Longshan Temple. Actually we were going there to take the MRT back to Banciao where I live now, but as we go to the front of the temple, we found out that the parade just reached there. I took some video shots:
An awful lot of people gathered there. I feel quite lucky to be so close to everything as we walked in from the back entrance to Longshan Temple. Had we arrived from the other direction, we'd probably be standing back there and not be able to see much.
This is probably the most clear photo I have of the ghosts/spirits/gods, as they're known as here. They move a lot, so usually the pictures get a bit blurry.
I want you to pay notice to the difference in height. The small one in the front in known as Ba, which means eight. Funny thing is, that the guy behind, who is much taller, is known amongst the spirits walking on the street as Chi, which here means seven. The meaning behind it probably can be found with a bit more insight in Buddhism and Taiwanese culture. Hopefully I can give a better understanding of it some time later.
After seeing this, I went to Xinpu to spend the rest of the day listening to Taiwanese as a dinner party with my host club. Nothing much interesting to write about that, so I'll finish and go to bed now. It's been a long day and my legs are tired. - Plus I have blisters on my fingers from playing jubeat too hard.
If you want to see this yourself some day, come to Taipei in December and look out for anything happening around the area near Longshan Temple (which is a rather famous temple and can be reached by MRT). Goodnight.