Gods, Rockets, And Warriors-Taiwan’s Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival-Part 3

Another beehive is finished. The palanquins are directed away from the middle of the street so oncoming emergency vehicles can pass through the crowds and the piles of fireworks remnants. Appearing to be cruising the area,  when someone truly is in need of emergency care I’ve seen these vehicles swiftly moving through the streets of Yanshui with the help of volunteers.

Despite the elaborate fireworks displays, countless pao chengs, and international attention Yanshui District has never forgotten the reason for this festival. A desperate cry to the God, Gaun Di, or Gaun Gong, the God of War to save the region from the devasting plague that took many lives here  in the latter part of the 19th century. Temples and shrines are buzzing with followers praying throughout the two days of the celebration.

Initiation in the festival starts very young for many with introductions through sparklers and non-explosive fireworks. Playful beginnings. 

It’s tempting to just move from one beehive to another but the dark corners of streets and lanes  of Yanshui District seem to  tell so many stories, as intriguing as the open spaces that are taken over with the fire that lights up the sky. This festival is so intense that time spent walking around the trafficless streets in between the beehive bombs is a relief. The mystery that’s enhanced by what you can’t see is intensified by the traditional music playing and explosions in the distance.  But, it doesn’t last.

I find another smaller crowd down a lane that’s working little pao chengs, crate sized but still packed with power and energy to create a more intimate experience. No traffic controls needed for these little beehives. Carry the finished one away and bring another one out ready to go. Excerpts from “Gods, Rockets, And Warriors-Taiwan’s Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival Part 3”.

About the Author John Saboe

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.

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