After choosing a perahera fire basket to illustrate ‘fire‘ for this week’s Travel Theme challenge, Dallas asked me about them. Really, after the clouds (the elephants) they’re the stars (sic) of the perahera, lighting the path ahead, spotlighting the action, and along the way acting as portable lighters for the fire dancers. Most of all, they provide the background razzamatazz for the show, containing the fire but adding its flair to the spectacle.
Incapacitated one year, I watched from the windows of the Queens Hotel, so I thought I’d use these window shots to put the spotlight on the clouds and the stars of the perahera.
A perahera is basically a parade, or procession. The greatest perahera – the capital P perahera – is the Kandy Esala Perahera, which progresses – on an ever longer, more encompassing route – through the streets of the hill capital on the ten nights leading up to the Esala full moon in August. Think of the pomp and power of kings, of exotic and colourful costumes, dances and instruments, of the deep-rooted piety of a society seeking the blessings of the gods for an abundant harvest, factor in the jolly old British raj and the modern state aligning themselves with tradition and power, and you get several nights of parades that boggle the eyes, assault the ears and thrill beyond imagining.