Songjiang Battle Array.

Bamboo sticks, guandaos, shields, tridents, these are weapons used in Songjiang Battle Array, a form of Chinese martial art and also a cultural performance.
Dinh and I are in Neimen, Kaohsiung, where the concentration of Songjiang clubs is the highest in Taiwan. We・re watching Shennong Temple・s Songjiang club practicing for the annual Neimen Songjiang Battle Array Festival that takes place March 8th through March 19th this year. One important part of the Songjiang culture is performing for the gods. Incense is kept burning at all times in hopes of keeping its practitioners safe from injury. I・m pretty sure Dinh and I are going to need more than incense. A miracle might almost be enough.
The origin of Songjiang Battle Array, there are lots of sayings, one of them is that during the Qing Dynasty when people traveled here from China, they didn・t get along with the indigenous people, so fighting often broke out. In order to protect the people that lived here, they had to train themselves on how to use these weapons.
I・m a peaceful guy, but it・s interesting to try it.
The other thing Neimen・s famous for is its banquet chefs.
Parties here are thrown without sending invitations - family, friends and neighbors are just expected to invite themselves, and the number of guests that show up is usually in the hundreds. For example this wedding banquet is a party of 66 tables, hosting 660 people. At 12 dishes per table, the amount of food that must be prepared is incredible.
We have a large truck and a van. The van to drives the workers, the truck brings the food. Then we have another large truck for the dining ware, tables and chairs.
Even more amazing is that all the cooking and serving for the party is done by less than 30 people.
Everyone has a job. I・m the head chef, there are people on the cutting boards, people sculpting, people washing the vegetables and people delivering food to the guests.
Because we live in the city, we almost never get to see these banquets held on the side of a road, so this has been really cool for us, and seeing how only twenty-some people manage the entire circus, that is just mind-blowing. Come to Neimen if you get a chance, especially during the Songjiang Battle Array festival.
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