Taiwanese Block Party?

We were innocently minding our own business, typing our papers this evening, when all of a sudden the sound of hundreds of bottle-rocket-type firecrackers, which soon became thousands, started going off down the street. Then there was all this gong-banging and loud tradional music played by a crowd of uniformed musicians (we could see them in the intersection through the window. So we abondoned the still-nameless kitten and ran down with the camera to see what was going on. There was a big crowd, most people had handfuls of incense and were following a procession that included two large altars, or shrines, or something on poles, lit with all kinds of flashing neon lights and trailed by a generator on wheels to power them… plus the things in the picture below (you can decide how best to describe that yourselves). There were two guys in thes big elaborate costumes dancing around, and one shirtless guy dancing with a sword who looked like he may have nicked himself a few times: there appeared to be blood running down his back. We took some video, which I haven’t seen yet but will probably post a little bit tomorrow. We don’t have good pictures because by the time we got there the crowds were too thick to get close, and the procession was winding down narrow side streets. Plus we had no idea what it was all about and didn’t want to go intruding when we weren’t sure what we were intruding on. The photo below is the end of the procession… not where all the action was, except that tall cylindrical thing was spinning. I got a few sideways glances for using the flash, but it was a big crowd with lots of random spectators… maybe they didn’t notice it was me… the 6-foot-4 white guy.

Sorry we don’t have info on this – we’ll find out in the morning at work – but it’s not like anyone clued us in before they started holding up traffic with bricks of fireworks. I suppose if we weren’t spending so much spare time writing papers about our attachment disorders we’d have more of a cultural clue, but we’ll get the scoop at work. It’s after 2am our time, so I’m going to bed!