I have finally been to a city festival! Melbourne had a music and arts festival the other night, called “White Night”. It began around 7pm and supposedly lasted until 7am the following day. (Mom, Dad – don’t worry, I didn’t stay up for the whole festival.) Along Flinders Street, the train station and churches were lit up with projections of various decorations. There were performers under the clocks at the station and the station was appropriately lit up with an image of theater curtains. I even have proof that footy* is an Australian religion. The bottom most image in the collage depicts a mosaic of footy players in action. This mosaic is on a legitimate church. This mosaic is also a projection onto the church for the White Night festival. Ok, so maybe this isn’t hard proof that footy is a religion, but I had you there for a moment, didn’t I?
To match the humor of the footy mosaic, the festival was lively and it seemed as if all residents of Melbourne were in attendance. Parts of Elizabeth, Swanston and Flinders Street were closed. People flooded the streets and there were times when I wondered if I was in China as opposed to Australia. Festivals are a huge part of Melbourne, especially since the music and arts scene is a defining factor of the city. I spotted a flag advertising the Moomba Festival for the following weekend. Guess what I’ll be doing two weekends from now?
Footy, or Australian football, is taken very seriously here (I kid you not; I spotted young children in the park tackling inflatable footy players over the weekend). It gives “sport” a whole new meaning. You see, American football players wear nice padding and helmets, etc, but footy players? They’re real men and wear zero protective gear. Not only do they tackle each other without protective gear, they also jump up onto other player’s shoulders in order to catch the ball. (Yes, I just said shoulders. Did I mention that players are usually over six feet tall? Wide receivers jumping up in the air to catch a football don’t seem like such an incredible feat anymore.) In case you couldn’t guess, I cannot wait to watch a footy match. The season starts in a few weeks!