Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Celebration Time, Come On

On July 13th, JR and I headed over to Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain to partake in the 8th Annual Lantern Festival.
The blurb from the website reads:
The Lantern Festival
Once a year, Forest Hills hosts the Lantern Festival, an extraordinary community event attended by 3,000 people in 2000. Inspired by Buddhist traditions, this non-denominational ceremony offers a magical way to remember family and friends. After enjoying a program of music and dance, people inscribe the paper shades of simple wooden lanterns with greetings. At dusk, we light the lanterns and watch them float across Lake Hibiscus, bearing their messages to the world of the spirits.

I love Forest Hills Cemetery. It is a gorgeous Victorian garden cemetery, and I love poking about in it... well, except for the one time I spent two unsuccessful hours searching for ee cummings grave; I still haven't found it. However, I had never been to an event there, and I was a little bit concerned about it. I didn't know if it was going to be a somber sort of thing, but it was quite the opposite. There was dancing, loud ceremonial drumming, bagpipes, people running around with kids and dogs and picnicing on the lawn with candles and wine. It really was both a celebration of life as well as a memorial for those who have passed away. It also inspired me to think again on my PhD which I will never get: in funerary customs and spirituality in Victorian England.

We are SO going again next year with a large group of people, but this year we really just scoped it out, getting a sense of things. Next year, I will even get a lantern. I was just glad that we had the foresight to bring bugspray, because once the sun went down, things got a little buggy. I also did a funny Buffy impersonation, but I was missing a "Mr. Pointy" stake. As we left the cemetery in the dark, I have to admit that I was kind of glad that vampires aren't really real.

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