Saturday, September 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Big C!/孔子、お誕生日おめでとう!/孔子生日快樂!

Supposedly, this is a blog about living in Tainan.  However, I sure have been posting a lot about Japan recently.  Let's take a break from Japan and wish Confucius a happy birthday!
There are Confucius Temples all over the world.  Anywhere Han people have settled it seems, they've got and set up a Confucius Temple.  Since Tainan is the first part of Taiwan that Han people settled in, the Confucius Temple in Tainan is the oldest in Taiwan.  Every year on the philosopher's birthday, they have a ceremony.  It starts at 5 or so in the morning.  Ugh.  Figures that all work and no play, stiff-collar Confucius would have a ceremony that requires getting up before the sun rises.  If it were a Chuang Tzu ceremony, everyone would probably wander in at whatever time they wanted and loll about on the ground, and actually, there probably wouldn't be a ceremony.  Or a temple either.  Chuang Tzu would probably make fun of people who held ceremonies in his honor.  This is why he's secretly the best Chinese philosopher.
At any rate, Confucius:


 Some guy's cellphone in my photo.
 It gets lighter and lighter as the ceremony continues.

 Kids with feathers.

 Scouts helping out with crowd control.
 I think I may have posted a photo of this instrument once before, whenever the last time I visited this temple was.  But here it was outside and lit up by the sun, so this is a much better photo.  They must have used it in the ceremony.  You stroke the tiger's back to produce some sort of sound with the bits that stick up.

 And these are pitched, uh, I don't know what to call them.  They're like gongs, but made of stone.
 Now, on a totally unrelated note, when my friends and I were leaving the temple, we happened across an entirely different celebration at a totally unrelated temple.  Tainan has a bajillion temples, and each one celebrates the birthday of the god housed within on a certain day of the year.  This one just happened to be today.  This is a good chance to see what a typical Taiwanese temple celebration is like.  To get the full effect, blow some fire works up around you while you look at the photos so that you can suffer hearing damage and breath in smoke.



This group of girls performed acrobatics involving doing arches like this.
She picked up a 100 dollar bill with her mouth while in the arch position!
  Doing arches off of benches stacked on top of each other.
 What are these guys doing here?  Hmmm....

 Just drinking some juice boxes.  Nothing weird here.
Ah, so that's what these guys were waiting for!

 Dancing and bubbles!
 And now the procession heads off from the temple to go around the neighborhood.

 And just like that everyone's gone.

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