Sunday, July 7, 2019
Scenes from a Lighted Candle Festival Okinawa
A few years ago this event was started in the Shirahama district of Ogimi.
It was a practical way to recycle candles left over from wedding ceremonies.
Before sunset Eisa dancing is performed by talented youngsters at the community center.
Shirahama is a small community so, a group of 5 kicks off the entertainment.
Before long some bystanders decide to jump in and dance with the Eisa group.
There aren't tents set up selling refreshments. People bring their own booze and food.
Barbecues are set up by families and you can smell burning charcoal drifting through the air.
Get close enough to those in attendance and you may smell alcoholic spirits, too.
The annual Candle Night became so popular, all of Ogimi participates these days.
Along the west coast of Okinawa, Shioa Bay becomes encircled with burning candles.
Five or six thousand candles are lighted in time for sundown. It's 7:02 in this photo.
As the sun was setting behind us the orange glow of candles started appearing on the bay.
The PET bottles contain about a pint of water in them to keep the wind from tipping things.
When the sun dips below the horizon, the candles put on quite a show.
The road across the bay became my subject for reflection photography. It wasn't easy.
Using slow shutter speeds and the camera's timer proved challenging.
My friends heard me cuss (softly) every time a car's headlights ruined my compositions.
Facing west the moon was visible above the bridge and reflections in the water.
A few times clouds looked threatening but, miraculously rain never fell.
Sometimes, I swear the old Okinawan priestesses control the weather. Good gals!
Moving around the bay some interesting reflections would appear around bridges.
If only, the spiritual leaders could control automobile headlights and traffic.
For sure, I'd buy them some drinks.
Some very creative individuals added their artwork to the PET bottle windshields.
The plastic encased candles were placed in decorated wax paper cartons.
Shortly after 9 PM, this photo was taken. It was time to start heading home.
At every festival on this island, friends are made and, I can hardly wait to return.
For what seems like a never-ending rainy season, this festival stayed dry.
After dropping my photo gear off at the office, I walked to the drinking part of town.
The skies opened up and rain poured down on me. It felt terrific.
But, one beer is the limit according to my doctor. So, that's what I did.
Before midnight I was snoring, at home.