*A warning to my more squeamish visitors, this story includes graphic images*
The drums: pounding. The crowd: dense. The colors: vibrant.
In a word,
It was after 5:00pm, and I had spent the day on nearby Bilugyun (Ogre) Island in the heat of Myanmar (Burma) summer. I was exhausted. So exhausted in fact, that when I caught a glimpse of a line of 150-odd monks walking toward us on the other side of the road my first instinct was to just move on.
Then, something I'd never seen before.
A row of people walking on the other side of the road. Brightly colored garland draped over-top of an apparatus some were wearing. Loud music blaring from loudspeakers on a truck at the rear, and a group of kids and teens drumming rhythmically at the front.
Immediately feeling energized, I quickly motioned to the tuk-tuk driver to stop. I didn't know where in the Mawlamyine I was, but that was a worry for later.
Feet now on the ground, I followed along as the procession made its way to a nearby Hindu temple. It was all a blur, with so much going on, I just tried to keep up and take it all in.
I don't know the exact ceremony that was displayed, and unfortunately language barriers prevented me from gathering all the details. It seemed similar to the Thaipusam festival, but happened about one month later in March of 2012.
I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below, and if you think you may know others who may enjoy it, feel free to share.