Colombo’s somewhat eccentric Gangarama Temple is holding a grand procession near the Beira Lake. Basically everything around the Daily Mirror office and the Beira Lake will be closed to traffic, besides elephant, dancer and fire-bearing traffic (route list, of sorts).
Just yesterday I saw some of the elephants moving into position, sorta casually walking through traffic.
It’s actually debateable what the elephants think of these events. Some have said that it amounts to animal cruelty, taking baby elephants from their families, etc. Elephants are not very domesticated and they have to be guided at all times in chains by mahouts with, like, spears.
The procession’s connection with Buddhism is also dubious. With Sri Lankan Buddhism, yes, but this is tied more to a local culture and, like, war elephants than anything particular about the Buddha.
All that said, I still love peraheras. I think the elephants for the most part are treated with care and I enjoy the cultural aspects of Sri Lankan Buddhism as well. With a good seat you can feel the heat on your face and the cracking of whips, dancing, lights and sheer endurance of all the performers is amazing. I’m going tonight, I think it’ll be a good show.