Imagine somnolent afternoon sinking to dusk. Crowds are steadily descending on the centre of the city – walking carelessly in family groups or in pairs, on the pavements, or spilling across the roads, for traffic has been banished since late afternoon – the Perahera holds centre stage now
At the temples, dancers and musicians, whip crackers, flag carriers, fire walkers and monks are putting the finishing touches to their costumes, marking the pattern of intricate choreography, tuning instruments and talking, talking. There is no tension, but plenty of excitement. The stars of the show, the elephants, are having a final bath at the fountain before being led, slick and dark, to their dressing stations, to be shrouded in cloth of gold, spangled in flashing lights and fed final titbits: a hand of bananas, a choice piece of sugar cane, perhaps. The buzz is building. Viewing stands fill to bursting. A boy from the Pizza Hut darts across the road, frantically taking last orders.
A cannon roars through the night, silencing the crowds. A collective sigh of anticipation.
Now the sound of drums begins to reverberate from hill to hill across the lake, permeating up through the expectant stands. From far off, the electric crack of a whip. Then another, followed by another and another …
Let the Perahera begin!
This post was inspired by Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Challenge: Rhythm. Follow the link to Where’s My Backpack to see a melange of rhythmic interpretations.