Thursday, May 22, 2014

Taunggyi lantern festival

During the November full moon each year, the Burmese hold a lantern festival to trump all lantern festivals - at least in size and ammunition.

Giant hot air balloon-sized lanterns carry gondolas filled with enough massive fireworks to put on a 20 minute show. The lanterns, painted with images of Buddha, are sent off with symbolic intentions requesting him to shower the people with blessings.  In actuality, the people are showered with firework debris.

The thing about Myanmar, though, is this: as a third world country, all things are done manually. Take ferris wheels for instance.  The majority of the world is accustomed to power operated ferris wheels.  The ones in Myanmar are 'man'-ually operated. Sprite young men jump up the wheel like monkeys, climb to the top and hang down making the wheel spin.

The balloons aren't far off. Once the fireworks filled gondola is attached to the floating lantern, the fuse is ignited.  And from the amount of fireworks that go off as soon as the balloon is released in the air, that fuse is not a long one.