Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Buddha's Birthday

This is the second holiday weekend in a row. Not bad, I'd say. Last week (Friday) was ANZAC Day. This week (Monday) is Labour Day.

Conveniently, this weekend is also the celebration of Buddha's Birthday. I've introduced that earlier. You remember, I wasn't tai chi-ing.

I did get the chance to venture down to South Bank Friday and Saturday evening to witness the festivities. Lots of lanterns. Lots of vegetarian food. Even the material called "chicken curry", I am told, was actually vegetarian. I didn't try it, however, so I cannot testify to that fact.

The features that stood out for me:

1. Although Buddha was from India, everything - except for the Hare Krishna food stand was Chinese.

2. The Buddhists seem to celebrate by providing opportunities to purchase blessings for a donation.

3. The shrine set up in the Sun Corp Stadium captured virtually every holiday motif I could imagine. Golden idols. Fresh foods. Fresh flowers. Baby Buddhas. Christmas trees. Easter eggs. Birthday cake-like mountains of pink egg-ish things. Go ahead. Look. I'll wait.

4. If you get the chance, learn from my mistake. You bathe the Baby Buddha by pouring water on his shoulders. Not over his head. I'm afraid I'm looking at seven years of bad luck.

I did quite enjoy the performances I stumbled upon just when I was getting ready to leave. I watched a band perform with a variety of interesting of Chinese stringed instruments. This was followed by a lion dance. Then, a couple of dances performed by a troop from the Royal Brisbane International College. I enjoyed their costumes which featured white flowing from their arms. The choreography made much of this- especially the second piece which was set to a selection from the film "Hero" (Ying Xiong- I love "Hero" and the soundtrack. If you haven't figured it out, this is a selection from "Hero" that is playing above) and used "flowing fans" to create moving water. The best, however, were the "martial artists" doing amazing acrobatics- I mean kung fu- all set to a cross between traditional Chinese and gay disco music.

Happy Birthday, Buddha.

Peace on Earth.

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