Sunday, September 26, 2010

Muromi Paper Lantern Festival

The Muromi River is one of the two little rivers that flow together at the point by our house. Yesterday, Nana and I (along with a bunch of co-workers led by Maureen, whom you may remember as the leader of our little Dazaifu adventure) rode our bikes a few miles upriver for the Muromi Paper Lantern Festival. 

The Muromi festival is just one of the countless local lantern festivals celebrated throughout East Asia. Though pretty humble when compared with some of the bigger festivals, the sight of all those lights flickering in the cool evening air isn't something I'll easily forget.

Here are some photos (and videos!) from our night:

The majority of the lanterns were simple colored paper bags with candles inside, arranged in a wild array of patterns.

Most of the patterns appeared to be abstract, though there were a few we could identify (fish, birds, something that was either a mermaid or a top-down view of a veil dance).
The lanterns marking the edges of the footpaths were all made by local schoolchildren.
 Some of these added some really neat colors to the mix.
 Others simply have a lot of personality, like this ogre . . .
 . . . and his red-faced companion.
It's hard to get the full sensation from these photos, though. For one, the spread was huge, and with the cool breeze blowing up the river, the lanterns were constantly flickering like waves of grain.

Here's an attempt to catch the flickering:

And here's an attempt to give a sense of the scale of the thing:

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