Temple versus The Man
There are in essence two finales to Burning Man and presumably all the regional burns, including Transformus: The burning of the man happens on Saturday and the burning of the temple happens Sunday. Given that they are both burning large objects at the same event only 24 hour apart, it is hard to imagine events which are more culturally different.
Burning the Man is a wild party. Fire dancers, fireworks, running participates huge pyrotechnics and ultimately a huge burning effigy falls.
Burning the Temple is a solemn and mournful event, which has many of the same design components as burning the man, but is quieter, more respectful and actually more transformative.
While the party at the burning of the man may well rock your world, it is far more likely that if you step up into the opportunity, is that the burning of the temple will change your life. [Positive life changes are a principal funological objective.] The reasons is that the joyful festive side of large group events is hardly unknown. But being open to sadness, looking at what obstacles are in your way or simply being moved by hundreds to thousands of people around you who are crying or mourning is much more rare. And usually more personally significant.
The temples are typically made of unfinished wood (since their life span is so short) and at national Burning Man events are large and highly ornate. At Transformus, we had a simpler construction made of bamboo (which might even have been indigenous – and thus closer to the Rainbow Gathering style of things.) In the deeper conversations with thoughtful folks at the You Are Beautiful camp where we stayed, there were many who felt the temple burn was the most important part of the festival for them personally.