The day after the "lice incident," we went an hour north with our language helper, his family, and some of his friends to see the "lighting" for the "New Day" celebration.
This lighting takes place every year.
The one we attended this year is the most well-known, and unlike the post from last year. This year I know the background story (as told by our language helper).
Before I regale you with that tale, let me tell you about this celebration in the recent past.
A former dictator of this country prohibited this celebration for many years in this part of the country, so the people secretly lit fires or burned tires to celebrate.
What I saw on the drive north was that many people still make their own fires and burn tires. In each of the pictures below, you can see smoke off in the distance.
the entire way there...
these roadsides remind me of Africa...
Traffic was crazy once we got into the city.
This was looking out our back window.
The day was beautiful though.
Can you see the people on the top and in a line weaving down the side of the mountain?
We were on a mountain across from the one above. I couldn't get a good picture to show you how many thousands were there.
Ok, the story that I heard says there was an evil man who ruled many people, and he would kill individuals with a hammer. He walked around with two snakes on his shoulders.
One day, a blacksmith decided to challenge the evil man. I thought I had heard that he tricked him by taking his son there to be "killed," and the blacksmith killed the bad man instead. However, other stories say he didn't take a child with him as bait. He just challenged him and killed him.
Nevertheless, the man lit a large fire after the evil man was dead to let others know he was successful. Today, four countries celebrate this legend as their own.
Who knows which country the legend it belongs to? Personally, I'm hoping that it's only a legend and that it never really happened.
At dusk, the parade of torches begins to snake it's way up the mountain, along with a lot of fireworks going off (hence the smoke).
Once the fire reaches the top, it appeared there was a small celebration up there, and then the "snake" of fire came back down.
After the "snake" came down, a fire parade started up our side of the mountain. A man led the way on a donkey, and many others followed.
Several of the men had kerosene or something in their mouth, and they would spit at their torch and make the fire explode all toward us.
I must stop at this point to point out the obvious.
Fire is dangerous and not something to be played with.
Our language helper told us the following day that 5 people had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance that night, and one or two of them were because they inhaled the gas substance they had been carrying in their mouth.
Basically, a few acorns short of a nut pile.
As we walked down the mountain to our car, I looked over to the right and I saw lights on another mountain.
It was a fun night, but knowing the crowds and traffic, I'm not sure I'd ever venture north to see the lights again.
Unless of course, you came to visit during March, and then I would gladly do it, just for you.
Keira (and the other little boy with us) both passed out on the way home.
Keira just happened to fall asleep face down.
We saw the lights.
And I believe, they conquered us.