We thought the processions were very interesting and colorful. We had been lucky enough to come on the god's visiting day where deities came from all over Taiwan to visit the rather senior one located at Nankunshen.
-- Eric Trachtenberg
After the gods and the men with drums came a waves of men dressed like gods with very ornately painted faces. Much to our surprise they carried weapons (that were real). They seemed to be concentrating on something...
Painted face. What did we stumble into?
As we watched, the men started quivering and dancing wildly in trancelike state. To make things more interesting people set off firecrackers underneath the dancing men.
Things got more intense as time went on. More people fell into a trance and others danced with heavy objects like prayer wheels (which when turned send a prayer to heaven).
Other dancers preferred big weapons.
Strangely enough, all of this went on with a lot of onlookers -- and there was no problem taking photos. In fact, people were extremely friendly and found it funny that we strange foreigners would find this so interesting. Things were just getting started.
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Pictures: Eric Trachtenberg