Mazu is a highly revered deity in many Asian religions. She is known as the patron saint of the seas, protecting wayfaring ships and sailors from the perils of the sea. In honor of the goddess, devotees host elaborate celebrations. The following pictures, taken April 17, are from one such celebration.
The procession began with fireworks. The length of four city blocks was partitioned off and strewn generously with firecrackers, which were brought in by the truckload.
One loud wave of constant explosion swept down the street for nearly ten minutes. Ash, smoke, and cinder filled the air. Car alarms rang out.
The sound echoed off the nearby buildings, amplifying the volume.
Firework casings blanketed the street.
The procession culminated in an empty lot where a series of performances took place, like these costumed acrobats jumping across pedestals.
Various shrines were brought forth, all lined with electrical lights.
Piles of firecrackers were laid on the ground and ignited. Costumed performers, as testament to their faith, withstood the explosions.
Later in the evening, an aerial fireworks finale took place.