Visitors from Home
Jeff and Karen Neisler, friends from Samaritan House (our home church in Rogers) came to visit. The weather was windy and cool; they got to see a lot of the Taitung area. Here we are eating at a breakfast shop.
Ruthie and Karen take a break from riding, on Green Island.
Like me, Jeff loves the beautiful coast in Taiwan. Below Jeff is the salt water hot springs. Green Island is one of only three places in the world that has them.
This is a tomb site. These are all over Taiwan. I’ve asked several people “who gets such a tomb” ? Apparently it is for prominent/wealthy. This is a Buddhist grave as most are, but there are also Christian gravesites.
The Lantern Festival
The Lantern Festival is a Buddhist celebration —-really a big thing. These are street dancers from various temples.
As you can see, the costumes are colorful and fancy.
Despite appearances, the Buddhists we’ve met seem to be tolerant and gentle. There can be big problems in families if someone leaves Buddhism.
These are “lanterns”– actually hot air paper balloons. Notes are written on the side, such as wishes for “good health” or “prosperity.” The balloons float well up into the sky until the oil fires burn out. This evening a gentle breeze carried the lanterns out over the ocean. Dozens of balloons lit up in the dark sky.
The main event is the “Handanyeh” parade. Young men take turns being carried around on a platform while other men throw packs of large firecrackers at him. We had heard of this before but seeing it was something! Supposedly evil spirits are scared away by the firecrackers. However, one person told me that it is a tradition based on story of a a cruel village mayor. One day villagers got fed up and three firecrackers at him.
The man on the platform wears only a wrap around his middle and face/ear protection.
Our friends the Neislers and another friend, Robert Wu are in the crowd of perhaps several thousand.
How badly hurt are the men? Some suffer only minor burns; others have to be taken to the hospital. Why do they do it? Young men get to show their bravado… like our rodeos, I guess.
This temple tower has eight stories, each with a shrine to a diferent Goddess/God. We took this photo just before climbing the structure.