Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Lantern Festival (元宵节)

The fifteenth day of the Chinese lunar calendar (农历) is the Lantern Festival, which, this year corresponded with the 17th of February. By this time I was feeling well enough to go out, and so that night I road my bike across the river with a couple friends to see Linfen's firework display. They shot off a good amount of fire works but the smoggy-ness of the night mixed with the glow of street lights detracted from the experience a little. But it felt so good to be out of the house and I can't complain too much because I managed to watch them from a very privileged position. Me and my good friend, who goes by the English name of Altair (a story for another time), were allowed to pass through the police line with the help of our military friend whom I know as Super Laji(垃圾), or Super Trash (also another story). Anyways, to make a long story short I ended up wedged between these two SUV's with obviously very important people inside. There was also a whole lighting and stage setup to my left (see the last image), which is where many of Linfen's leaders were watching the show to the sounds of music playing. Super Laji told me this was not an appropriate place for a foreigner, so I pulled my hat down low and my scarf up high and tried not to wander far from the place where he had left me. My pictures mostly look the same because of it but it was the closest I've ever been to fireworks before (look at picture number 2, you can see the smoke from the launch site, and I was only using a 35mm lens) and I was only about 50 feet away from the most important people in town.

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