@FarEastAdvTravl

Gods, Rockets, And Warriors-Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival, Taiwan Part 2

By John Saboe | Taiwan

Mar 07
At the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival held in Southern Taiwan an attendee is strung with fireworks before being lit-a way to chase away evil spirits and begin a new year with good luck

At the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival held in Southern Taiwan an attendee is strung with fireworks before being lit-a way to chase away evil spirits and begin a new year with good luck

We get the signal, they’re ready to go. The men at the front of the palanquins quickly turn their backs to the wall, and brace for the barrage of piercing rockets.

And the cacophony of the beehive began with roaring tides of bottle rocket streaks fired off in all directions. Exploding in mid air, sometimes right in front of my mask and tiny explosions at my feet.

The giant God overseeing it soon disappeared behind the thick cloud of pyrotechnics smoke. Most of the gatherers near the Pao Cheng were facing the opposite direction, an extra layer of canvas protecting their backs from the bruise inducing rockets.

Almost everyone is performing a funny shuffle with their feet to prevent bottle rockets from exploding up their legs. It’s a nervous dance I found myself instinctively doing out of fear as well. The palanquin attendants continued to shake the Gods for good chi.

The final wave of rockets is super intense, emitting a glow behind the giant War God. Although I’m startled by the occasional rocket blowing up in front of my face or hitting me, the energy is intoxicating, the rush is addictive, I was loving the experience.

The final rockets launched are like guided missiles directed right at the crowd, the last bit of torture before the pao cheng is put to rest.

After the beehive was finished the crowd quickly scattered into the streets to immediately search for more Pao Chengs. It’s addictive.

It seemed that every direction you look fireworks filled the sky in the distance. With always chance of something going off right at your feet.

A few of the followers at the close-by temple began tossing strings of firecrackers onto the streets. Sometimes not even bothering to spread them out. Little piles of explosions littered in front of us.

More dancing, more fire, smoke and good luck.

The smoke and haze hasn’t cleared before more strings of firecrackers are tossed onto the street. Fresh boxes are opened and once again piles of firecrackers are left heaped in small mounds.

The next dance through the firecrackers is delayed by a fire that broke out behind a small building on the street. The fire is doused and street explosions continued. Some running into the smoke chasing the strings of freshly exploding firecrackers and the space that’s been cleared of evil spirits.

The fireworks continued to streak the sky and the explosions echoed through the streets that are all shut off to traffic during the festival.

I approached a beehive already in full force, the air painted with the bright orange streaks and rockets bouncing and exploding off the ground.

The rockets of the wall had finished their work and the final fireworks were lit, shooting straight up into the sky. The crowd’s dancing stopped, mesmerized by the final moments of this display of fire, like a dragon on it’s last few breaths.

A slight contrast to the alternative entertainment on offer. If it wasn’t for the sounds of explosions and fireworks lighting up the sky it would have felt like any other of the hundreds of Taiwan night markets across the island.

I made my way through the street lined with stalls where the smells of food frying, steaming, and braising were competing with the wafts of fireworks smoke that lingered over Yanshui District. I wondered what people who lived here thought about the festival and the crowds that descend on their hamlet every year. I spoke with local resident Yu Chin Wun.

In the streets, walls or pao chengs are repositioned. Palanquins are delivered to new spots and crowds knowing another beehive is about to start, begin to gather.

Next time on Far East Adventure Travel, the grand finale and the conclusion to Gods, Rockets, And Warriors.

Follow

About the Author

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

Related Posts

Swayambhunath-“The Monkey Temple”-Kathmandu, Nepal-Captured this morning at 6:30 while observing/filming Gunla, the month long Buddhist festival observed by Newari Buddhists. The Newaris are the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley. This month long ritual of praying, fasting, playing music, and singing is believed to originate from when the monks retreated from the monsoon rains to meditate. Loud, but full of joy I only recently discovered this festival with the kind help of a ticket attendant at Swayambhunath who let me use my entrance ticket a second day,(never happened before), to see the Gunla ritual. Inspiring to see young and old followers enjoying the warm spirited atmosphere at this storied site. Energy/vibe-crazy amazing!!!#nepal #himalayas #kathmandu #annapurna #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #buddhist #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape

Kathmandu, Nepal-More From Gai Jatra 2018 Festival this past Monday. Some of my best moments spent in Nepal besides trekking in the Himalaya have been observing the various festivals whether they’re Hindi, Buddhist, or Newari. The indescribable aura especially with the mix of beliefs and people that come from all over the country to work in the Kathmandu Valley is magical, unlike almost anywhere else I’ve visited. Sometimes I wonder did I find this place or did it find me. On my 8th visit in as many years… #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #WeAreSherpa

Kathmandu, Nepal-Gai Jatra 2018, “The Festival Of Cows”! These boys are dressed as cows leading processions of people who have lost a loved one this past year. Cows lead the processions but if one is not available a boy dressed as a cow is an acceptable substitute. They accept offerings from people in the street. Young children are dressed in bright colorful costumes and adults sometimes dress in funny outfits. It’s all to help those see they are not alone in their suffering and to help relieve the pain of loss. I felt so much joy and community today in Kathmandu. Once again the spirit of harmony and compassion unfolded itself in a beautiful ritual in the Kathmandu Valley. #kathmandu #hindu #hinduism #nepal #festival #podcast #photojournalism #trekking #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography

Varanasi, India-The look in their eyes. Sometimes I turn the camera the other way just to capture moments like this. A group in this boat staring up at the ghats of the great Ganges each with their own perspective, different reasons perhaps of why they are there. Do they have a relative who’s body was cremated or are they waiting for someone to finally pass on to the next life? Are they simply just tourists admiring the ghats and city for the first time. Or could they be reminding us to always feel gratitude no matter what’s currently happening in our lives. Varanasi goes at many speeds with layers of activity that can sometimes only be felt days, even years after the fact…. #varanasi #nikon #puja #incredibleindia #hinduism #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #nikon #flowers #photooftheday #new#happiness#travelingram#instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme

The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan

The Hungry Ghost Festival 2018 in Taipei, Taiwan

Mt. Kailash,Tibet-The highest point on the kora of Mt. Kailash, Drolma La Pass, 5630 meters. This is one of the most unique adventures on the planet. Travel to remote Western Tibet, Walk for 3 days on a pilgrimage around one of the holiest places of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and Bon followers. They say doing one kora around Mt. Kailash wipes away the sins of a lifetime. Some believe after you do a kora, circumambulation of Mt. Kailash, you will go on to do something good for humanity. It’s an incredible awakening and it helped change my life! #tibet #buddha #buddhism #hinduism #photojournalism #trekking #india #backpacking #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #travelblogger #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #igtravel #travelphotography #mountainscape

Hanoi, Vietnam-I think we’ve lost so much in the way of individuality and charm when it comes to retailing, let alone how it’s impacted our cultures and society. So many governments encourage big business and multinational chains with tax breaks and incentives while making it increasingly harder for an individual to start a small business- shameful! The Old Quarter Of Hanoi is still filled with family businesses that offer products, services, and style that’s quite unique for a capital city these days. From a traveler’s perspective it’s so refreshing to walk around a city and not see the same stores that are showing up everywhere else on the planet. I want more LOCAL at home and when I travel! #vietnam #hanoi #fuji #myfujifilm #fujifilm #streetphotography#photojournalism #away #tripme #traveling #alone #photooftheday #walkingstreet #nightmarket #new#happiness#travelingram #instago #instatravel#traveltheworld #instago #beautifulplace#travelpics#travellife #wildernessculture#instafollow#travellife #FF #igtravel #followme #travelphotography