Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bon in Penang

Bon Odori...
I've been to the event held in Shah Alam for the past two years...
and every year I see the photos from the Penang event and feel envious
So this year, after some last minute planning, 
Maneki Neko and myself hopped on a bus to Penang 
not knowing where we'd be staying
how we'd be getting back 
or what to expect

for the unenlightened, according to Wikipedia,
"Bon Odori (η›†θΈŠγ‚Š
meaning simply Bon dance is an event held during Obon. 
It is celebrated as a reminder of the gratitude one should feel toward one's ancestors.

As Obon occurs in the heat of the summer, 
participants traditionally wear yukata, or light cotton kimonos

Many Obon celebrations include a huge carnival with rides, games, 
and summer festival food like watermelon"

After scoping out the sights of the Esplanade,
we saw the food stalls,
the games,
and the stage.

and it started raining
and people took shelter under umbrella's
or whatever was at hand
who'd thunk to use a cap for a camera rain cover?
After the rain stopped,
the drums begun
followed by the dances
(which included the bunny hop!)
and the singing

The colours, sounds and costumes makes the experience quite worthwhile

Especially the stage and the stand 
which make the event photographer friendly
which was the biggest drawback of the event
Almost the entire crowd around the stage were photographers
and very few there to participate despite the encouragement of the emcee

despite the footnotes on the flyers..
there were some who came in cosplay 
or dressed up in other fashions
but the cherry on top of the sundae that is Bon Odori in Penang 
(for the photographers) is the fireworks display 

Not sure if it is worth the time and money 
to travel all the way again just for Bon Odori in Penang next year
but for this year it was worth every penny...
especially since heart crusher represented
with our delegates from Sungai Petani & Thailand :)

During the long trip there and back,
I had time to think...
in spite of the tragedies and suffering that came
with the Japanese invasion to Malaya...
who could have predicted that they would have left something 
that bring something that leaves such joy and life
I guess sometimes good does indeed come out of the bad

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