Last weekend, Yuling and I visited Tainan, a city in the south. While it was very similar to cities like Hsinchu and Jhubei, there were a few different quirks such as a vibrant art district and some historical sites. One thing that I wandered upon on Saturday was yet another temple parade, which was a great experience to take in – even though I’ve seen these before.
While following the parade as it visited temples around Tainan, I was offered beer, tea, binlang, and cigarettes from complete strangers. I politely denied the cigarettes and binlang (also known as betel nut or areca nut) but was amazed and impressed by the hospitality of the people taking part.
The first thing I noticed about this crowd was that it was a mix. Young and old, male and female. While the parade in Jhubei was very much like this, it seemed more diverse than that group. Another thing I noticed was the presence of robes – signifying a sense of at least a little more formality… though these things are never “too” formal (e.g. guys are drinking beer and smoking cigarettes while in the parade and banging on drums!).
You’ll notice a few more Chinese generals to start off with. These guys were pretty impressive-looking, and I’m glad I had more light, unlike last time.
One of the more interesting aspects of this day was the presence of robed officiants. It was much easier to figure out who was “in charge.” They would go through the process of blessing idols by putting them through incense smoke and painting them – something I hadn’t seen before.
The couple below was quite fascinating to me – that lady looks a little annoyed at me or perhaps just a bit serious :)
The spinning thing below was fascinating. I had never seen one before, but it works as a sort of banner with the name of a god on the front. When the parade came to a new altar/temple, the man would dance with the tassels moving through the air. This is another new thing to me – this man was very animated and good at what he did.
The photo below shows some gifts being given to a passing god. Gifts would be exchanged between temples as they moved through the city streets.
See the Flickr Photoset for the rest of the shots from that day.
EDIT 2010/2/22: A few edits were made to this post after consulting my girlfriend about the “8 generals.” I think I had them confused as vampires at one point!