(ha-p. xix PILGRIMAGES TO THE PAGODAS 19J
and gaily painted and gilded, are also presented to the pagodas, and are borne on poles through the streets. Men wearing masks as ogres, or disguised as animals, are to be seen in the crowd of pleasure-seekers, and a huge paper dragon, a hundred feet long, with its body expanded by hoops, and its inside, great jaws, and staring eyes lit by candles, is carried on the shoulders of a number of men, as it writhes in violent contortions on its way, till deposited at the pagoda.1
Besides these great feasts, celebrated with so much extravagance of mirth and money, there are minor religious festivals, which take place all the year round, and are very popular. The pilgrimages to the pagodas and shrines in the country give the opportunity for an outing and picnic, for the meeting of friends and lovers, the retailing of news, and, not least, the storing up of " merit " for the great account. Every shrine has its special holy day, when the people come from all the country round in their bullock-carts and dressed in their best. The girls, with their dark tresses crowned with flowers, the young men in pink silk pasohs and turbans, the fathers and mothers happy and free
1 I have seen a similar dragon carried through the streets at Otzu, in Japan, on a fte day.
crowned with flowers for the pagoda festival.crowned with flowers for the pagoda festival.