Pageantry, Custom and Art


The whole world is focused on one location, right now. The Olympic games in Bejing, China. Normally, any attention focused on China would not necessarily be a good thing. Many of us have issues with their communist rule.

However, the Olympics have given them an opportunity to show the world they aren’t so bad, and give them a glimpse of the proud past they have known.

The opening ceremonies were a mixture of modern technology with ancient culture and arts. It was amazing watching a painting being created from people doing modern dance. Many of the costumes being worn by the participants were gorgeous and an art form in and of themselves.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that the ancient oriental arts are beautiful. I heard one of the announcers say that the Chinese felt there was no exact art to painting, the artist painted from his soul – so the strokes might not be perfect, or the painting exact, but it would be a representation of his inner self, and therefore; beautiful.

I find that most of the work done in the oriental style is soothing and flowing. My daughter bought a kit that shows how to paint in that way, using the bambo brushes, and I can’t wait to look into it. But I'm getting sidetracked again...

What was fun to see was the rich colors and the carvings, the artwork inherent in just the buildings. The enormous pageantry of the opening ceremonies was enough to astound and take ones breath away.

Take this scene where they have a woman dancing a traditional dance on top of a mat being carried! It's amazing.

There was another scene where they were depicting the ancient boats and how China ruled the seas. They had large oars that were painted and when held in place, was a painting so large it filled the floor of the stadium. Then they moved them in rhythm and synchronized movements that were worthy of professional dancers. It was one more piece of art to the gallery they were presenting.
The technical aspects were mind blowing as well. They had probably the worlds largest LED screen on the floor of the stadium, that they used for various stages of the ceremonies, but was at one point a large unrolled scroll. They used the top edges of the stadium itself to present the lighting of the torch, having a man run along the edges as if he was actually running -- but was being flown by cables -- toward the torch. The torch itself appeared out of nowhere in the last 30 minutes before they were ready to light it. Makes me wonder if it's going to stay there or if it will be dismantled with part of the stadium after the Olympics are over.

There were many dancers and floating lit people filling the air at different times. This shot is hard to see, but it's a woman who was floating through the air with lights.
I've been an avid Olympic fan since they were held in Los Angeles. That was when I was old enough to truly watch and appreciate them. Since that time, I've watched every single minute I could of them, both winter and summer games. It drives my family a little nuts sometimes, but my hubby puts up with it with mostly good humor.

I was able to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics as a volunteer, and as a result I got to actually attend the closing. It was one of the highlights of my life!

I feel strongly that the Olympics could be such a growing and meaningful thing for our planet, should we grasp the reality of them instead of the commercialism. Too much of it is lost in the costs, and the urgency of winning. I think they should be free, personally, especially to the host nation. It's one thing to be able to watch it on TV, but there's nothing that replaces actually being there and feeling that amazing Olympic spirit.

I remember when I was at the closing games and it was time to extinguish the torch. It was an emotional thing -- none of us wanted it to end. If only it didn't have to in our hearts. If only the feelings and meaning of the Olympics could live in the hearts of the world over -- perhaps we would find peace.

Until then, I will still enjoy the beauty and wonder of each country and glory in their triumphs, feel sad for their losses, and feel in a small way -- part of each of them.

That is the feeling of the Olympics. We are brothers and sisters the world over.

We are one.

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