Saturday, August 15, 2015

Festival of the Dead, part 2: Dancing with the Dead

The musicians climb atop the bandstand and the dance begins.  The neighborhood attendees gather and follow the chalk line to form a circle around the bandstand. And then they begin to dance.

Worried that the rain may again begin to fall, the musicians have decided to keep the big taiko drum under the tent.  Although they are separated from the singers and flute player, the percussionists are together with them in song.

Partway through the dance, the participants break for a much-needed rest and refueling.  The children enjoy the free cotton candy, shaved ice and games, while there is plenty of beer for the adults.

After a second round of dancing, large boxes of candy, treats and small toys are hoisted to the top of the bandstand.  The participants, armed with large plastic bags, gather around in anticipation of what is to come.  The musicians, with as much energy as they had sung and played, throw treats by the armful to the delighted crowd below.  While some skillfully catch them directly in their bags, others sink to the knees, slithering between the legs of those still standing, as they scoop up the treats that have fallen to the ground.

To be continued in "Festival of the Dead, part 3: Playing with Fire"

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