Friday, September 9, 2011

What was the last memory of Sri Lanka?

My last night in Sri Lanka was spent in Kandy. I had mentioned that I would be in Kandy in one of my last posts before my departure, and a friend had a wonderful response to it. But we weren't there to visit a sweet shop, we were there because every August in Sri Lanka (the night of that month's full moon) is the Festival of the Tooth. We didn't see Kandy's Temple of The Tooth, but we saw its parade.

I have the feeling that you can not be told what the Festival of the Tooth Parade is, you must experience it for yourself. As someone who is a strong advocate against parades ("Parades, Circus and Fireworks: if you've seen one you've seen them all.") I will admit that what I saw was unique.

It was four hours plus of a parade of elephants and fire. Fire and elephants. Theatrics with fire. Theatrics with elephants. Elaborate costumes on elephants. Elaborate costumes on people, people with fire. Two hours into it we saw this:

MySister said it best, "I wish this had an accompanying headset like in a museum, to explain all of this." If I had to guess, and that's really all I can do, the middle of the parade with the most elaborate accompaniment had to have been the Tooth. Basically we all stood when the others stood, watched what the others watched, and resigned to the fact that we were in the middle of something huge and important (although none of us fully understood why). Here are a couple pictures I took before my camera battery expired:

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