Another Boston July Evening Well Spent

July 18th, 2008 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

We are Forest Hills Cemetery abutters (tell Dave Barry we have another name for a rock band). The annual stroll for the lantern festival is one of our rituals. We missed one when we were far away.

The recap follows in a few images. The sights and sounds make are lush and non-stop for three hours. If you’ve never done it, keep it in your mind or Blackberry for the third week of July next year.

Pic Trick: Click an image thumbnail for a little larger view.  It opens in the same window or tab, so use your back button to return.

Japanese dancers First comes the lantern preparation. Then in order, several styles of dancers, the drumming and the lantern ceremony. Every moment of the three-hour evening is part of an event.
After dancing comes the elaborate drumming. small drum
drum Grand Master Eleventh Generation Soku Grand Master Tsuji trains and leads the dummers.Here he honors the gigantic drum before the ceremony.
The drummers are in the martial arts tradition and train in Quincy at the Academy of Kobudo. They grunt and sweat. Many are Occidentals. Everyone seems to be having way too much fun at this. drummers
lantern frames Many hundreds of frames, in effect the hulls of the lantern boats, arrive by wagon. In effect, people rent these for a few dollars for the ceremony. Someone has to retrieve these for the next year.
People can decorate their own paper for the lantern. Most get one of the young women at tables to write their messages in Japanese characters. Many combine the calligraphy on one or two panels with their own messages or drawings. Blessings for the dead are common, such as young children sending messages to a recently deceased grandparent. lantern preparation
lanternpair.jpg When the paper with art and messages is ready, people slip them over the wooden frame. They light the votive candle and about the same time, the crowd approaches the shores and sets the lanterns afloat. The paper can act as a sails.
I’ve never gotten a really good shot of the lanterns floating. This one if from the Forest Hills Trust. See it here and check the rest of the site. lit lanterns


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