Lantern Festival

Lanterns Japanese taiko drums and bagpipes.  It sounds like an odd combination, but tonight, they worked together beautifully.  For our evening walk, the socks, Java, and I trekked to Forest Hills Cemetery for the 8th annual Lantern Festival.  The Lantern Festival is modeled on a Buddhist ritual of decorating and releasing lanterns, representing the souls of the dead, and offering prayers so that they may rest in peace.  I got there late and had to leave early (because I forgot bug-dope) but I can’t wait until next year.  Wow.

The shores of Lake Hibiscus were packed with picnickers of all shapes, sizes and colors.  Kids with Moms, kids with Dads, kids with a Mom and a Dad.  Groups of young friends, groups of old friends (I saw at least one van from a local assisted living facility), and all sorts of combinations of folks.  And dogs.  Java loved saying “hi” to all the four-legged critters who attended.

It was beautiful.  We arrived just before dusk as the Taiko drummers were performing.  DaylightDsc_0061_1 was melting away, the rhythmic drumming and haunting flute captured our attention.  As dusk approached and the Japanese flute faded away, a lone bagpipe kicked in with Amazing Grace.  For a few seconds the two instruments overlapped and instead of being discordant as you would expect, they blended beautifully together. The piper played as folks made their way to the lakeside to release the lanterns.

Hibiscus I choked up a bit watching the lanterns float across the lake.  Each one had been built and personalized.  Some with caligraphy, others with children’s drawings.  Each one was lovely.  A quiet calm surrounded the lake, everyone was deep in their own thoughts and remembrances, but it wasn’t a sad event.

I am looking forward to going next year. 

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~ by Kat on July 13, 2006.

5 Responses to “Lantern Festival”

  1. This sounds like such a very peaceful event – in a way sad of course, but I can well imagine that the atmosphere there was able to give everyone a very calm and content feeling. It’s a very good way releasing the souls of the dead.

  2. It sounds beautiful. I’d like to go next year too.

  3. It sounds powerful and amazing.

  4. Dang. That sounds wonderful. I need to put stuff like this in my calendar for the following year so I don’t forget about it, like the Chinese New Year celebrations I’m always forgetting to go see in Chinatown.

  5. sounds like a very special event! but where is the sock?

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