Tuesday, May 17, 2011

week 34_buddha birthday

It has already been a week since our overly adventurous outings last weekend, but I have been so busy that I still haven't even gotten around to posting everything! Aside from the mountain hiking, and bus tour of the city... there was more!

By the end of our very lengthy bus ride, we had the good sense to find an MRT station and find our way home. We hopped on the train and were chit-chatting along the ride, when I think we both realized we still weren't quite ready to call it a day yet - after all, we had just taken an hour and a half rest sitting on a bus... so we decided that we should take advantage of the MRT we were already on and get off at one of the more scenic/touristy stops, Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Jason had never seen it, and I hadn't been there in a few years, so it was a perfect spot to stroll and observe a little bit before heading back home (saving the full tour for another day, simply because the grounds are quite large - there is plenty to see!)

North gate entrance to Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
Memorial Hall in the distance beyond
At first we were there, snapping some photos - like any good tourista would do. Jason had worn a Fuzzy's shirt that day, knowing that if we got any good pics and sent them in, Fuzzy's posts photos of their fans from around the world. [We did send in at least one pic after this outing! Will be watching the Fuzzy's website for it!]

Jason, sporting a Fuzzy's Taco Shop Tee
Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall beyond
After we had been walking for a few moments amidst the 3 main buildings of the site... we noticed something a little out of place... more specifically, that we were a little out of place... as we realized that everyone around us was wearing the same clothes...

Notice the sea of navy blue & white clothing...
Now picture us in the middle of it...!
Once we had finally noticed this minor detail, we decided to move a little bit further out of the spotlight. There is a long garden area in between two buildings leading up to the main building (pictured above) and we had been wandering smack dab in the middle of the open plaza/gardens - so we found our way to the edge of the grounds and began walking toward the main building, hoping to climb the stairs and get a better view...

It wasn't until we reached the top of the stairs, looking back towards the North gate, that we could fully grasp the magnitude of the crowd. Yes, we had been standing somewhere just in the middle there... It turns out, we had stumbled upon a celebration of buddha's birthday & mother's day! Wow. [This was Sakyamuni Buddha's 2,633rd birthday, by the way]. 

When we reached the top of the stairs, the crowd had taken their places and began to sing in unison, using pink lotus flowers as a prop with small sways, bows, and gestures throughout the songs. Politicians, diplomats, and buddhists filled the grounds and we just stood there in awe watching as the sun set in the distance.

This ceremony was amazing to have stumbled upon! Here is a video from the event... but it could never match the experience of being there in person. It was a beautiful and serene ceremony, and what a way to end a weekend.


  1. What good fortune for you that you wandered into this! The crowd is obviously forming symbols and/or letters. Do you know what they mean? By the way, I love your posts!

  2. Fantastic, amazing amount of people, it reminds me of the beautification of the Pope in Rome!

  3. Julie - I'm not sure what the symbols meant, but the crowd formed the numbers "4" "5" and many identical symbols that appeared to be leaves... Nice to hear that you are still enjoying my blog! :)
    Mom - Yes, it was similar to what I would imagine in Rome for the Pope's beautification... awesome to be there to see this... :)