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Rit Limphongpand


CELEBRATION

SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


EVERYBODY wants to have some fun

Our backgrounds are unique, our perspectives are our own, but together we share a common quest. Food, family, friends, song, dance, light, joy and excitement; these are the experiences we live for and these are the experiences we share. Celebration.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of 12th the month (November)


CELEBRATION

THAI LUNAR CALENDAR Thai lunar calendar or “Patitin Chantarakati” was replaced by the "Patitin Suriyakati" or Thai solar calendar, which is Thai Gregorian calendar in AD 1888 (“Patitin” means Calendar). The holidays and festivals are also scheduled according to the ancient Thai lunar calendar, rather than the western Gregorian calendar though its used officially in the

Kingdom for many years. Background of Thai lunar calendar dates back to the rich cultural history of Thailand when Buddhism was first introduced to Suvarnabhumi, an ancient kingdom in Thailand, thus its obvious that Thai Buddhists' ways of life is influenced by different Buddhist activities.

New

Waxing

1st Quater

Waxing

raem 15 kam

keun

keun 8 kam

keun

A complete cycle of the moon,

of waxing moon (“Keun” means

from the new moon (dark moon)

to rise) and 14 days of waning

Thursday. Then “raem 5” is the

to the full moon is 29 and a

moon (“Raem” means retire).

5th day of the waning moon.

half days. To make up for this,

Next month has an equal 15

Finally, “deuan 8” translates as

months alternate between 29

days of waxing and 15 days of

the 8th month.

days and 30 days. It has 15 days

waning. The first “5” is for the

5th day of the week which is

SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


THAI LUNAR CALENDAR

Importance of Thai lunar calendar lies in the fact that the sundial can be used as a lunar calendar pnavyicting the full moon; which is regarded as useful in the countries of Thailand and Laos, where the lunar-month is in use. The official Thai calendar is reckoned from the date of 543 BC. according to the Christian calendar. Thai lunar months number begin

from 1 to 12. Months are divided into two periods denominated by the names of the characteristic “moons”. Being based on the phases of the moon, half of the lunar months are 28 days long and the other half are 29 days long.

Full

Waning

Last Quater

Waning

keun 15 kam

raem

raem 15 kam

raem

For Example Loi Krathong is

“keun 15 kam deuan 12” (“Kam”

celebrated every year on the

means Evening). For the next

waning is “raem” which is the

full moon of the 12th month.

example, the Buddhist Annual

period after a full moon and so

The 12th lunar month is usually

Rains Retreat, which is called

the next day is then “raem 1 kam

in November though it is

Begining of Vassa. This starts on

deuan 8.”

sometimes earlier. In Thai this is

the first day of the waning moon

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

of the 8th lunar month. In Thai,


CELEBRATION

Light

10

Water

26

SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival afther the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CONTENTS

Parade & Costumes Flower

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

56

80


SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival 15 day after waning moon of 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


Light

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

11


CELEBRATION

12


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

The act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one's grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh on a better foot.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

13


CELEBRATION

14


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

On the full moon of November People will flot the floting raft or Krathong" on the river.

LOI KRATHONG Origins of Loi Krathong Loi Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. When the tide in the rivers is highest and the moon at its brightest, the Thais choose this day to hold the Loi Kratong festival, or the “Festival of Light.” Loi Kratong is one of the two most recognized festivals in the country. The origins of Loi Krathong are stated to be in Sukhothai, but recently scholars have argued that it is in fact an invention from the Bangkok period. According to the writings of H.M. King Rama IV in 1863, the originally Brahmanical festival was adapted by Buddhists in Thailand as a ceremony to honour the original Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama. Apart from venerating the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of f loating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one’s grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh

on a better foot. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts. Thai people believe that floating a raft on the river is to honor, pay respect and to apologize to the Goddess of the Water “Phra Mae Khong Kha” for the bad things we have done to the river during the past year. That is the another reason why Loi Krathong festival is held at the end of the year. Governmental offices, corporations and other organizations usually create big decorated rafts. There are also local and officially organised raft competitions, regarding its beauty and craftsmanship. In addition, there are also fireworks and beauty contests during the celebration of the festival.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

15


CELEBRATION

How to Celebrated At dusk, as the full moon begins to rise, the krathong is decorated with fresh flowers and the candles and incense sticks are placed in the krathong. The float is then taken to a waterway where the candle and incense sticks are lit and the krathong set adrift. The floats are carried downstream by the gentle current, candlelight flickering in the wind. The lighting of fireworks is undertaken in the same spirit as when lighting candles in an act of worship so fireworks displays are very much an integral element of the secular and religious rituals performed. 16

How to Celebrated

Soon after, attention turns to celebration. The evening’s festivities consist of impressive firework displays, folk entertainment, stage dramas, song and dance. Scenes as described in ancient Thai literary accounts are still very much in existence today.


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

CURRENT SPREAD : As the place of origin of the festival, Sukhothai rightly remains the focal point of the celebrations. The festival comes with the spectacular light and sound show held in the ancient and traditional setting of the Sukhothai historical park.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

17


CELEBRATION

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CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

“ Loi Krathong customs and traditions reflect local beliefs and cultural evolution.”

LEFT : Since the people of Tak love “Miang”, and produce “Miang” as an important local product, a lot of coconut shells are left. People bring them to be cleaned and polished for making Krathong Sai. OPPOSITE : Each krathong will be gently dropping one by one in to the Ping river.

Loi Krathong Sai

Loy Krathong Sai

Loi Krathong customs and traditions reflect local beliefs and cultural evolution. Interesting regional variations can be seen. The ancient tradition of Tak province with specific characteristic different from other places, namely, Krathong is made of coconut shells as major element because Tak peoples like to have “Miang” as refreshments and produces as important native products. Since

lot of coconuts are used to make Miang stuffs. The coconut covers are therefore used to make Krathong with lighting to float along the Ping River until becoming several thousands lanterns procession floating along the water and it is very beautiful scene that rarely seen, The origin of its name, Loi Krathong Sai ("Sai" means "Line") could be traslanted.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

19


CELEBRATION

20


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

As hundreds of illuminated lanterns drift into infinity, this conjures the same sense of wistful closure as the krathongs float downstream.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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CELEBRATION

Yi Peng Yi Peng Lantern Festival is the unique traditional practice of Chiang Mai province at the nothern of Thailand. It is northern Thailand's version of Loi Kratong celebration. The festival activities are Yi Peng lantern contest, light and sound presentation, rafts competition, rowing boat race, kratong contest and various kinds of local plays and performances from musician and dancers.

“Yi Peng� literally means the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month and the Chiang Mai, Yi Peng and Loi Krathong, is organised annually by the Chiang Mai.

The unusual ritual of launching Lanna-style hot air "lantern balloons" is a unique aspect of the Chiang Mai Loi Krathong festival in Thailand. Traditional belief has it that when

On the full moon night, the krathong contest is being organised by the Youth Club from various temples in Chiang Mai. While traditional krathong were made exclusively

22

these huge hot air balloons are set adrift and f loat away, so do the troubles of the persons who launched the balloon, which is similar to Loi Krathong.


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

LEFT : Entire of Chiang Mai

ABOVE : People usually make

province will be decorate with

lantern balloon from a thin

the lanterns or “Khom Fai” in

fabric, such as rice paper and is

Thai langauge.

attached with candle or fuel cell.

from banana leaves. Following by the contest, the krathongs are set afloat on the Ping River in Chiangmai. And there will be procession of spectacular “Krathong Yai” or giant krathong feature elaborate decorations the story of the life of the Buddha, will wing their way through the streets of Chiang Mai.

Many other activities will also be organized ranging from Krathong Contests, fireworks and folk shows. During the festival, the entire city of Chiang Mai, its houses, streets, canals, moats and the river are decorated with lights and beautiful lanterns.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

23


CELEBRATION

24


CHAPTER 1 / LIGHT

My Experience in Yi Peng Two years ago, I traveled with my best friend and his family to Chaing Mai during the Yi Peng Festival. That was the first time that I had an experience with the Yi Peng Festival and it was very memorable trip. I didn't go to Chiang Mai with my friend and his family. They traveled in my friend's car and arrived one day ahead of me. Because I had my family business to take care of, I had to travel by myself. I traveled in an express train from Bangkok, which took me almost twelve hours to get to the Chaing Mai train station.

Around 9 pm., I saw many lantern balloons were floating to the air, I guess that was a signal for us to floated our lantern balloons. We lit our own lantern ballon and floated them to the sky. It was very beautiful to see so many floating in the sky, even though I was not celebrating and floating the lantern balloons with other people in the city, which they had a big celebration, it was nice to see a very beautiful night sky full of light at Chaing Mai. It was an unforgettable experience.

It was almost dusk when I arrived at the train station, and my friend drove his car to pick me up. When we drove in to the city, it was very beautiful. There were many lanterns decorated everywhere, then we arrived at my friend's cousin house and it was the place that we were staying on this trip. They had a little house party and arranged some lantern balloons for us to float in the courtyard.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


Water

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

27


CELEBRATION

The water pouring is a symbolic act of the cleansing of the spirit, mind and body. It is also believed that the water washes away the past year’s sins and bad luck.

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

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CELEBRATION

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

SONGKRAN Thai New Year Songkran or so called Water Festival by Westerner is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13th to 15th April. It coincides with the New Year of many calendars of South and Southeast Asia. Songkran is derived from the Sanskrit word “ Sankranti” (Sanskrit is a historical IndoAryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and Buddhism), which means changing places or astrological passage as it is the day when the sun changes its position in the zodiac. It is celebrated over three days in mid-April. Mahasongkran (April 13th) marks the end of the old year, Wan Nao (April 14th) is the day to prepare food for the next day and Wan Thaloeng Sok (April 15th) begins the New Year. Until 1888 the Thai New Year was the beginning of the year in Thailand; thereafter April 1st was used until 1940. January 1st is now the beginning of the year.

Cleansing or Bathing Buddha images. The traditional practice of Songkran.

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CELEBRATION

The New Year Tradition and The Meaning of Songkran Before the New Year celebrations, Thai people would clean their houses to get rid of previous year’s bad luck in order to receive good luck in the New Year. For merit making and visiting guests, they will prepare ample food and sweets. On New Year’s day, the Thais would typically go to a Buddhist temple to pray and offer alms to the monks. They cleanse Buddha images by gently sprinkling scented water mixed with a Thai fragrance and flower carpel over them. Then, this water is poured on the shoulder or into the palms of the old people of the elderly to show respect and present them with a towel and other bathing requisites. In the old days it was an actual bathing where the young people helped the old people to take a bath and to change their old clothing and put on the new clothes which the young people presented them as an act of respect to the aged on the occasion of the New Year.

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15

The water pouring is a symbolic act of the cleansing of the spirit, mind and body. It is also believed that the water washes away the past year’s sins and bad luck. Just like Christian people celebrate Christmas by visiting their family, relatives and old friends, the Thais who live away from hometown visit their family members and pay respects to elderly people.


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

CURRENT SPREAD : Pouring Water tradition, nowadays this tradition has been done in large group at temple, city hall and official place. These place will arrange instrument that use in Pouring Water tradition and open to everyone.

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CELEBRATION

The Thai New Year festival events in Thailand, is cele month of the year. Young enjoy getting soaked and anything that moves.

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

l, one of the most exciting ebrated in the hottest g and grown-ups alike d throwing water on

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CELEBRATION

Throwing Water Today, Songkran is widely associated with water throwing. This can go on for just one day in places in the south, but can last for a week or more in areas of the north. The water association has a number of meanings. Water is thrown to cleanse and purify all the ills, misfortune and wrongdoing of the previous year, thus providing a clean slate for the new year ahead. Throwing water during Songkran

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15

is also associated with fertility. It is a time when Thai people traditionally looked to bring on the rains for rice cultivation and ensure a successful and bountiful harvest. The festivities were also a time for courtship in days gone by and the trend continues today, though not always in quite such a traditional manner.


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

People Throwing Water at Pattaya city, one of the most popular spot for Songkran Festival in Thailand.

37


CELEBRATION

Major Songkran Festival Chiang Mai : Being well known as the most favourable festivals of the country, Chiang Mai has organised this festival by dividing the event into four days by naming April 13 as the day marking the end of the old year. The activities involved on this day are to clean up oneself as well as the house and utensils, including bathing the Buddha images at home and at the temple. April 14 is called Wan Nao, meaning the first day of the new year, whereby preparations for food and desserts will be made for the merit making on the following day .In the evening, there will be a tradition of transporting sand into the temple and later on the formation of sand pagoda will be completed. On April 15 is called Wan Sangkhan Lohng or the day marking the new era, the beginning of the New Year starts with early merit making at the temple, offering bowls of rice, flags, and poles and dedication for the soul of the ancestors which in turn will provide blessings and goodness for those undertaking these

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15

rituals. In the afternoon, a most traditional ceremony of water bathing over the elders will be conducted. And April 16 is called Wan Paak Bpee. This day people pay respect to their ancestors, elders, or people worthy of respect due to advanced age or senior position. Other interesting activities to complete this festival! will include merit making and Buddha image bathing at Wat Phra Singha, local handicraft fair at Tha Phae Gate, worship of King Mahaprom, forming of sand pagodas at Wat Chedi Luang, local typical performances at religious sites and splashing of water on each other allover the city especially at the edge of the Ping River. Phra Pradaeng (Samut Prakan Province) : One of the most reputed festivals of the Thai-Man community, the Phra Pradaeng Songkran Festival normally takes place on Saturday and Sunday after the regular Songkran Festival. Besides the normal rituals


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

“ The most attracting water throwing tradition which has been freely practised here at this site and very popular amoung tourist.” of merit making, Buddha image bathing, and releasing of birds and fish, the Nang Songkran float procession is one of the most spectacular events of this festival. Also, visitors will have the opportunity of experiencing a very unique local game of ‘‘Saba.’’ The participants, both male and female, will dress up in their ThaiMon costumes. The location of this game is preferable at the ground floor of each home in the area. And for those who are looking for the fun of water splashing, this festival is a must as this actMty is widely practised in almost every comer of the streets. Khao San Road (Bangkok) : Recently organised by the community of Khao San Road, this joyful festival has attracted tremendous amounts of intemational tourists mainly staying on and around the Khao San Road area. The major activities of the festival include merit making, food offering to the monks, Buddha image bathing, local entertainment, traditional performances and the most attracting water throwing tradition which

has been freely practised here. here at this site and very popular amoung tourist. Eastern Region : The difference of this festivai from the others is the duration of this festival Which falls around April 16 or Aprit 17-19, and it is known as Wan Lai. One of the most popular welt-known Wan Lai festivals in the eastern region is held at Pattaya, Chon Buri province won April 19 of each year. The major activities wilt include the traditional ceremony of pouring scented water onto the hands of the elders, a Wan Lai procession, and the most entertaining of alt is the water splashing among the Thais, foreign tourists, and the focal people. Moreover, another nearby area is at Bang Saen, Chon Buri. There is another long herd tradition of forming sand pagodas on the Wan Lai, a tradition of the Saen Suk community, foltowed by the regular ritual of inviting monks from every temple in the Saen Suk area for various religious ceremonies.

39


CELEBRATION

“ Nowadays, the emphasis is on fun and water throwing rather than on the festival’s spiritual and religious aspects, which sometimes prompts complaints from traditionalists.”

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

Songkran Today Nowadays, among young people the holiday evolved to include dousing strangers with water to relieve the heat, since April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100°F or 40°C on some days). The emphasis is on fun and water throwing rather than on the festival’s spiritual and religious aspects, which sometimes prompts complaints from traditionalists. In recent years there have been calls to moderate the festival to lessen the many alcohol-related road accidents as well as injuries attributed to extreme behavior such as water being thrown in the faces of traveling motorcyclists.

The accident with the mortorcycle cause by slippery or water being thrown in the faces of traveling motorcyclists. Also, Songkran is the highest accident rate during the long holiday period in Thailand.

41


CELEBRATION

My Songkran Experience Since I was in high school, I used to take part in the Songkran festival a couple of times. I went to the three famous spots for Songkran festival in Bangkok with my friends, Khao Sarn Road , Seelom raod and Royal City Avenue (or so called RCA, one of Bangkok's largest entertainment and clubbing area). When I first saw the atmostphere at Khao Sarn road, I was very excited to see many people and tourists throwing water at each other and it seemed to be quite fun to me and my friends. First it was quite entertaing to throw water at strangers. But when we stepped into the most crowded zone of Khao Sarn Road, it was not fun at all. Some people used water mixed with mentholated talc that stings your eyes, using dreaded white powder When someone approached you from behind and unexpectedly smeared it on your face, it also stings your eyes (originally this powder or paste was applied to the face, neck or torso of others as a sign of protection or to ward off evil). Also my friends were harrassed by gays

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15

and shemales by touching their genitals. I also saw a group of women had been harrassed by male teenagers. That was not the Songkran that I expected. When it comes to traditional practice of Songkran, I would say that rarely had an experience with it. I used to go to a Buddhist temple to make merit, giving alms and pouring water on Buddha images when I was a child. Since my family is Chinese descendant, I was mostly fimiliar with the Chinese new year tradition. My opinion about the Songkran is that nowadays we have forgotten our beautiful traditional practice of Songkran. Instead, we focus on the celebration, entertainment and fun with the throwing water and we forget the true meaning of Songkran and how to truly celebrate it. We also make a lot of garbage and a lot water is wasted after the festival is over, which I think that is not good for the environment and the people who have to clean up our mess.


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

RIGHT : Teenagers smeared each other faces with dreaded poweder at Silom Road, one of the famous spot for Songkran Festival in Bangkok. BELOW : Dreaded white powder that could stings your eyes. One of the elements that I don't like in Songkran festival.

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CELEBRATION

KHAO SARN ROAD Crowd Bad Behavior Being Harrassed Cute Girls Chance of Injury Money Spent

My Songkran Spots These three places are the most popular spots in Bangkok, "Khao Sarn Road” the tourist district, “Silom Road” the bussiness district, and “Royal City Avenue” or so called by the initial “RCA” the largest clubbing area in Bangkok. Based on my experience I have rated these places from the my experience at the Songkran festival.

BANGKOK (CITY AREA) SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 2 / WATER Crowd : Population Density Bad Behavior : Nasty behavior of the people in that spot Being Harrassed : Chance of being harrassed by opposite sex (or same) Cute Girls : Rate of cute girls Chance of Injury : Altercation and other accident. Money Spent : How much money that you have to spend

ROYAL CITY AVENUE (RCA) Crowd Bad Behavior Being Harrassed Cute Girls Chance of Injury Money Spent

SILOM ROAD Crowd Bad Behavior Being Harrassed Cute Girls Chance of Injury Money Spent

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CELEBRATION

46


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

Many Thai believe that floating a raft will bring good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

47


CELEBRATION

Handmade Krathongs, which are made from banana leaves and decorated with candles, flower and incense sticks.

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CHAPTER 2 / WATER

LOI KRATHONG The Krathong ‘‘ Loi’’ means ‘‘to float’’ and a ‘‘Krathong’’ is a raft, about a hand span in diameter, traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk. A raft has been developed to be made of bread or sometimes made of styrofoam. The reason for using bread is to protect the environment, since having many rafts in the river can create a huge water pollution problem. Bread will eventually become food for fish and other animals in the river. Even though banana leaves are biodegradable, it takes longer to be degraded than a bread. Therefore, bread is the most environmental friendly choice to make a raft whereas foam is not recommended. A raft is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc.. Many people will Loi Krathong on a river or other body of water, such as ponds canals, lakes and seas. Some people even float a raft in a basin in their own yard.

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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CELEBRATION

Amount of Krathongs in Bangkok These are the amount of krathongs that recovered from the water in entire district of Bangkok for the past five years, since the start of the campaign “Keep Our Water Clean� by not to float synthetic foams (polystyrene) made krathong, which can't not be biodegradable and create the pollution that can cause enivironmental problems for water. The information graphics shows the reduction of krathong that were made from synthetic foams.

853,616

767,533 Natural material made krathong x ~100,000

Synthetic foams made krathong x ~100,0 00

TOTAL KRATHONGS 2010 : 946,838 2009 : 1,420,656 2008 : 1,259,912 2007 : 1,004,552 2006 : 1,095,379

182,322 118,575

2010

50

2009


CHAPTER 2 / WATER

1,058,332

1,009,205

813,776

353,884 250,887 189,208

2008

2007

2006

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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CELEBRATION

วันเพ็ญเดือนสิบสอง น้ำ�นองเต็มตลิ่ง เราทั้งหลายชายหญิง สนุกกันจริง วันลอยกระทง ลอย ลอยกระทง ลอย ลอยกระทง ลอยกระทงกันแล้ว ขอเชิญน้องแก้วออกมารำ�วง รำ�วงวันลอยกระทง รำ�วง วันลอยกระทง บุญจะส่งให้เราสุขใจ บุญจะส่งให้เราสุขใจ วันเพ็ญเดือนสิบสอง น้ำ�นองเต็มตลิ่ง เราทั้งหลายชายหญิง สนุกกันจริง วันลอยกระทง ลอย ลอยกระทง ลอย ลอย กระทงลอยกระทงกันแล้ว ขอเชิญน้องแก้วออกมารำ�วง รำ�วงวันลอยกระทง รำ�วงวันลอยกระทง บุญจะ ส่งให้เราสุขใจ บุญจะส่งให้เราสุขใจ

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CHAPTER 2 / WATER

Loi Krathong Song

November full moon shines,

Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong, and the water’s high, in the river and local klong,

Loi Loi Krathong, Loi Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong is here and everybody’s full of cheer, We’re together at the klong We’re together at the klong, Each one with this krathong, As we push away we pray,

We can see a better day. “Klong” means Canal in Thai

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

53


CELEBRATION

My Loi Krathong Experience My first krathong that I made was in Primary school. I made my krathong with foam board and paper wrapped around with a candle stick plunged down in the middle. At that time they were not concerned about the environment by making the krathong with degradable material. I made the krathong at my school and then came back to my house and floated it the in pond in my front yard. But eventually, It sunk. Since then I rarely had an experience with Loi Krathong until I was in my freshman year in university. I used my architecture model that I made in class and f loated it in the university pool instead of using kratong and of course, it also sunk. The last three years of my university I f loated kratong with my girlfriend and used my model as krathong. There is the belief that when you f loat the krathong with your couple, that is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love. But if the krathong is sinking that means your love will sink like your krathong. For me, our krathong did not sink and our relationship went quite well. But after I came to study in the US, we eventually broke up.

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CHAPTER 2 / WATER

LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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Parade & Costumes

SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

57


CELEBRATION

Songkran at Chiangmai on April 13th, Buddha image and idols are carried through the procession. It is accompanied by people of the city singing and dancing all around.

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

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CELEBRATION

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

In the afternoon of April 13th, prepare scented water to bath Phra Phuttha Sihing, a revered Buddha image of the north, for a blessing. The image will be taken in a procession that moves from Phra Sing temple to go round Chiang Mai city.

SONGKRAN Songkran at Chiang Mai Nothern people have their own folkloric explanation for the origins of the word. Songkran day itself is called Wan Sangkhan Lohng (‘‘Wan’’ means day), and the day of the new year is called ‘‘Pavenee Pee Mai’’, which Pee Mai means New Year. Wan Sangkhan Lohng is, according to local legend, the day that Sangkran Lady passes by, as the word lohng means to ‘‘go away’’ or ‘‘pass by’’. Technically this is the last day of the Lanna Lunar calendar (Lanna means the nothern part of Thailand), and the start of Pavenee Pee Mai. The festival stretches over four days with Songkran day officially set on April 13th. Each day has its different focus and activities. April 13th : Wan Sangkhan Lohng. People clean their houses and prepare for the new year festival on this day. The Chiang Mai Songkran parade traditionally takes place on this day involving revered Buddha images from the city's temples, floats, representative groups from the various districts of Chiang Mai province, musicians, and traditionally costumed beauties all of whom are liberally drenched all along the parade route by the water throwing from spectators.

April 14th : Wan Nao. On Wan Nao people prepare cooked and preserved food to be used in Buddhist merit making on the next day. On this day people also go down to the Ping River to collect buckets of sand which is used to construct mold sand pagodas, decorated with cut paper streamers and f lowers, in the temple compound. When demolished, the sand from the chedis raises the level of the temple courtyard. April 15th : Wan Payawan. The first day of the new year, people gathered at the wat in the early morning to offer the food prepared the previous day, fruit, new robes, and other goods to the monks. Traditionally this was the day when subdued water play started, but this has devolved to the exuberant water throwing that stretches over the four days of the festival. April 16th : Wan Paak Bpee. On this day people pay respect to their ancestors, elders, or people worthy of respect due to advanced age or senior position. Scented water is poured over the hands of the individuals being paid respect who in turn bless the participants in the ceremony.

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CELEBRATION

Origin of Songkran There was once a young man who was prodigious in learning. He understood even the language of the birds. This excited the jealousy of Kabil Maha Phrom, one of the gods of a higher heavenly realm. He came down to meet the young man and posed him three sphinx-like riddles with the wager that if the young man failed to give the right answers within seven days, he would lose his head but if he succeeded, the god himself would give his own. Like all folk tales the young man was at first at his wit's end to answer such difficult riddles and he repaired to a certain place in order to kill himself rather than face defeat. He stopped at the foot of a tall tree at the top of which was an aerie. By chance he heard the mother eagle comforting her eaglets who cried for more food, that they would be gratified soon by feasting on the body of the young man who would fail to solve the riddles. She then related the story of the wager between the god and the young man, and in answer to her children's question the mother eagle satisfied

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15

them with the right answers to those three riddles. The young man availed himself of this information and on the appointed day he gave the god the three right answers. The god, as was the case in such tales, lost the wager and himself cut off his own head. His head was a terrible one for if it touched the earth there would be a universaconflagration and if it fell into the sea, the sea would dry up through its intense heat. The god's head therefore was deposited in a certain cave in the heavens. Every new year that is on Songkran Day one of the god's seven daughters in turn will carry her father's head in procession with millions of other gods and goddesses circumambulating like the sun round the Meru, the Buddhist Olympian Mount. After that there are feasts among the celestial beings who enjoyed themselves with drinks made from the juice of the chamunad creeper. The god's head was taken back to the cave after the feast, to be taken out again on Songkran day the next year.


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

“When any one of them appears in a Songkran Day parade, she rides on a certain kind of animal, seven in number and she rides it in four different postures according to the time she comes.” Songkran Ladies The seven daughters of Kabil Maha Phrom, they are called as a class Nang Songkran or the Songkran Ladies. When any one of them appears in a Songkran Day parade, she rides on a certain kind of animal, seven in number and she rides it in four different postures according to the time she comes. She stands on the animal’s back if she comes in the morning rides on its back if she comes in the afternoon, reclines with her eyes open if she comes in the evening, and reclines with her eyes closed if she comes past midnight. All these are based on calculations made by court astrologers.

the Royal Palace precincts for the people’s information. This traditional practice was given up many years ago, but still survives in old style printed calender sheets which find a ready demand among the folk.

Every year before the advent of Songkran the royal astrologer will present his calculations to the King giving all traditional information as predicted by the calculations of the coming year. The artist attached to the court will also paint a picture based on the above information, showing the Songkran Lady and the celestial procession of the god’s head. This painting with such information is hung in a convenient and conspicuous place in ABOVE : Kabil Maha Phrom with the young man. BELOW : Kabil Maha Phrom with his seven daugthers "Nang Songkran" or Songkran Ladies.

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CELEBRATION

Tungsatevee Sunday

Songkran Ladies Characteristic The seven daughters of Kabil Brahma also represent each day of the week and ancient astrologers know which of them will descend to Earth by using ephemeris to find out on what day of the week the sun enters Aries. Each of these deities is identified by the colour of their dress, their ornaments, choice of weapon and food, and means of transport symbolised by animals as follow:

Red dress, preferred wild fruit, discus in the right hand, shell in the left hand, garuda as vehicle.

Montatevee Wednesday

Kirineetevee Thursday

Emerald green dress with cat’s

Greenish yellow dress with

eye ornament, preferred milk

emerald ornament, preferred

and butter, sharp iron in the

nuts and sesame seeds,

right hand and walking cane in

elephant hook in the right hand,

the left hand, donkey as vehicle.

gun in the left hand, elephant as vehicle.

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

Korakatevee Monday

Ragsotevee Tuesday

Yellow dress with pearl

Light red dress with agate

ornament, preferred butter

ornament, preferred blood,

oil, dagger in the right hand,

trident in the right hand, arrow

walking cane in the left hand,

in the left hand, pig as vehicle.

tiger as vehicle.

Kimitatevee Friday

Mahotorntevee Saturday

White dress with topaz

Black dress with onyx ornament,

ornament, preferred banana,

preferred hog deer, discus in

dagger in the right hand,

the right hand, trident in the left

Indian vina in the left hand,

hand, peacock as vehicle.

buffalo as vehicle.

Illustrations by Ome Ratchavet

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CELEBRATION

SONGKRAN New Year's April 13-15


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

OPPOSITE ABOVE : The parade

OPPOSITE BELOW : Songkran

ABOVE : The head of Kabil Maha

is leading by Songkran Lady

lady hold discus in the her right

Phrom is one of the ornament in

who's will act like Tungsatevee.

hand and shell in her left hand.

Songkran parade.

Her transport make it to look like the Garuda.

Songkran Ladies Parade Many provinces around Thailand there is a parade. It's originnate from the origin of Songkran. The seven daughters of Kabil Maha Phrom who had his head cut off when he lost a wager. Each year, the seven sisters take turns to lead the parade. Each sister is assigned a different day. For Instance, if Songkran falls

on a Sunday, the parade is lead by Tungsatevee. Her mode of transport is Garuda. After the parade, it is the tradition to hold beauty contests for the Songkran Lady. The contest will take place at temple, city hall and university, which depend on each province.

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CELEBRATION

It is believed that these ghosts came out from the forest to pay respect to the Buddha when he get out of the forest to town.

PHI TA KHON 68

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

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CELEBRATION

PHI TA KHON 70

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

The huge masks are carved from the bases of coconut trees.

PHI TA KHON Origin and Tradition Phi Ta Khon is a play held annually in the district of Daan Sai, Loei province, in conjunction with Boon Phra Ves, the fourth lunar months - merit making event. On this occasion, the faithful gather at the temple to hear the 13 sermons based on the last life of Bodhisattva, which they believe will earn them the merit to meet the Buddha in the next life. This particular event takes place in tandem with the fire-rocket launch organized as part of the merit-making ceremony of the sixth lunar month as a plea for seasonal rain. The three-day ceremony is traditionally held after the 15th day of waning moon of the sixth month and usually falls on Saturday and Sunday. some time between March and July, the dates being selected annually by the town’s mediums. Phi Ta Khon is term deviated from the original Phi Tarm Khon or Phi Ta Kone based on the spirits that are believed to be accompanying the Buddha on his send-off. The public is familiar with the fun aspect of the ceremony where people, generally boys

and adults, are dressed as Phi Ta Khon in costumes comprising a mask, a long protruding nose, horns and the dress. The mask, made of bamboo steamer, is incorporated with the base of coconut stalk and cardboard cut to shape with holes punched for the eyes. The long nose that protrudes like an elephant's trunk is carved out of soft wood. Horns are made of dried coconut spikes. This major three-day merit making ceremony and Phi Ta Khon play have now become and established festival popular with both the local people and foreigners. They will also take part in a major merit making ceremony that will bring them good fortune amidst the friendly ambiance and simple lifestyle of the people of Daan Sai district. The festival organizers also hold contests for the best masks, costumes and dancers, and plaques are awarded to the winners in each age group. The most popular event is the dancing contest among those dressed up as ghosts.

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CELEBRATION

Types of Phi Ta Khon There are two types of Phi Ta Khon procession namely the “Phi Ta Khon Yai” and the “Phi Ta Khon Lek” (“Yai” means big and “Lek” means small), the ones that are commonly found. The making of the Phi Ta Khon Yai involves the performance of a sacred ritual to seek the blessings of the

supreme powers before work on the masks can be initiated. It is also a task reserved exclusively for the descendants of families in which the tradition of making masks has been practised for several generations. The Phi Ta Khon Yai is made of bamboo and is dressed in either male or female attire.

LEFT : The players of Phi Ta Khon Yai are so specific because they have to receive an approval from ghosts or gods they believe and when they do so, they must continue play every year or three-year times at least. RIGHT : Phi Ta Khon Lek is for everyone who loves to play no matter who they are. Children, adults, women or men can be in the parade and have some fun. Normally, there are a few women in because the play is a bit wild and naughty.

PHI TA KHON 72

The Ghost Festival After the 15th day of waning moon of the 6th month (June)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

CURRENT PAGE : Traditional motifs on the masks are painted with colors in accordance with the creators skills and creative imagination. All the components are then sewn together with the dress from fabric scraps although today's costumes no longer rely on scraps. As a result, some of “Phi� or the ghosts or are dressed in colorful group uniforms.

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CELEBRATION

This spectacular parade of the Candle Festival is accompanied by various dancers along with musicians in traditional costumes, representing their respective institution.

BEGINING OF VASSA 74

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

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CELEBRATION

BEGINING OF VASSA 76

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

Craftman apply wax coating on the Bhuddha beewax scupture.

BEGINING of VASSA The Candle Festival The Candle Festival (Begining of Vassa or Khao Phansa) in Thailand is a unique festival held in first waning moon of 8th month in Thai Lunar Calendar ( July) and coinciding with the “Vassa” ritual as well as “Asanha Bucha” (also known as Asanha Puja).

The parade also includes massive wax sculptures carried on ornate floats, depicting various scenes from the Buddhist and Hindu mythology. These elaborately crafted candles are made of plaster or wood and are later coated with wax.

Vassa ritual also known as Buddhist Lent is the time period when the Buddhist monks retreat into their monasteries and confine themselves during the 3 months of the rainy season, whereas Asanha Bucha is held in commemoration of Buddha’s first sermon.

The day prior to the Asanha Bucha day, these sizable wax crafts are placed at Tung Sri Muang Park in downtown Ubon Ratchathani province, to be decorated and exhibited on the same evening. If you visit the park, you can learn and observe first hand how these intricate sculptures are meticulously created by skilled local artisans.

The Candle Festival is celebrated throughout Thailand where the spotlight is on the festival celebrated in the North Eastern Province of Ubon Ratchathani as well as Phra Phutthabat district in Saraburi Province. A special parade takes place as a highlight of the Candle Festival, where large candles are carried through the city center towards the temple, where they are donated to the monks to use during the 3 month long ritual. The blessings invoked through this donation is said to bring good fortune to the donors.

Mini processions also take place at various temples during the evening while the key procession known as Wan Khao Phansa is held early next morning. These massive crafted candles will not be burned and are only used to add inspiration and charm for the festival.

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CELEBRATION

BEGINING OF VASSA 78

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 3 / PARADE & COSTUMES

CURRENT SPREAD : The

Ratchathani on floats, and

procession takes place on the

accompanied by representatives

morning of Begining of Vassa.

of the respective institutions.

The candles are paraded

These are normally dancers or

through the city centre of Ubon

musicians in traditional dress.

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Flower SONGKRAN

PHI TA KHON

BEGINING OF VASSA

New Year's April 13-15

The Ghost Festival 15th day after waning moon of 6th month (June)

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


LOI KRATHONG Respect the Goddess of Water Full moon of the 12th month (November)

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CELEBRATION

BEGINING OF VASSA 82

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 4 / FLOWER

It is a spectacular time to be in the region to witness the devotees lining the street as hundreds of monks and novices file past accepting the offerings en route to the Shrine of the Holy Footprint.

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CELEBRATION

BEGINING OF VASSA 84

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 4 / FLOWER

BEGINING of VASSA Tak Bat Dok Mai The Tak Bat Dok Mai or Floral Offering Merit-Making ritual (“Dok Mai” means flower and “Bat” means monk's alms-bow) is unique to Saraburi province. This ritual stands out from the merit-making activities conducted in the other parts of Thailand because in addition to the offerings of cooked rice, food, incense, candles and other conventional sacred items, the Tak Bat Dok Mai ritual includes offerings of Dok Khao Phansa flowers that only come into bloom during the Begining of Vassa, hence the origin of its name. Some villagers call the flower Dok Yung Thong (golden peacock) or Dok Hong Thong (golden swan flower). The Dok Khao Phansa is a native species of forested hill-slopes, and is most commonly found in Saraburi province. A member of the Globba family, the flower is similar to galingale or turmeric and is just over 25 centimetres in height. The plant somewhat resembles the "krachai" or aromatic ginger with flowers in large white, yellow, yellowish-

violet, or violet and blue sprays. The yellow f lowers have smaller violet petals that give it a striking appearance. As the Dok Khao Phansa becomes an increasingly rare find these days, lotus, jasmine and rose have become acceptable alternatives for these f loral offerings. The residents of Phra Phutthabat have district observed this tradition of making floral offerings since ancient times and it has now become a significant provincial event. The “Tak Bat Dok Mai” floral merit-making ceremony is performed at the Wat Phra Buddhabat Woramahaviharn - Shrine ( “Wat” means temple) of the Holy Footprint, a highly revered ancestral place of worship and a national landmark, in the Phra Buddhabat District of Saraburi province.

Novice monks hold alms-bows with Dok Khao Pansa.

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CELEBRATION

The Ceremony In the morning of the first day of the Begining of Vassa or Buddhist Lent, residents of the community in Saraburi province engage in merit-making activities by presenting offerings to the resident monks at the Phra Buddhabat temple. Later in the morning, young couples venture out into the forested foothills to gather the Dok Khao Phansa flowers. Meanwhile in the district area, the

candle procession and the “Tak Bat Dok Mai� procession head towards the Phra Buddhabat temple courtyard. As a prelude to the floral merit-making ritual which takes place in the afternoon, a variety of traditional folk games and cultural performances are featured. Contests such as the long-drum dance, candle and Thai

BEGINING OF VASSA 86

Buddhist Annual Rain Retreat The 1st waning moon of the 8th month (July)


CHAPTER 4 / FLOWER

OPPOSITE : People are pouring water over the feet of the monks. ABOVE : Novice monks are going up to shrine of the Holy Footprint, to presented Dok Khao Phansa as a tribute to the Lord Buddha. LEFT : The Buddha's Footprint is a natural impression in limestone rock that resembles a very large footprint.

costume contests keep the audience entertained. In preparation for the “Tak Bat Dok Mai” merit-making ritual, Buddhist devotees line up along both sides of the street forming a long line that extends from the “ mondop” or seven-tiered temple spire and trails back along the streets. This forms a passage along which hundreds of monks and novices file past to accept sacred offerings.

The monks then ascend to the Shrine of the Holy Footprint where the offerings received are in turn presented as a tribute to the Lord Buddha. Once the ritual has been completed, the Buddhist devotees pour water over the feet of the monks and novices in the belief that in doing so, the sins of the worshippers are washed away.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This book is a part of the book set that I needed to create with two other members, which we were randomly selected by our instructor. The group consisted of Taichiro from Japan, Mary from America and me, from Thailand. At first I was a bit nervous when I heard our insturctors say that this will be a group project and the members will be randomly selected. But somehow it is also very challenging for me to work with other people who have nothing in common, our language, our design style and class schedule. Could we succeed in this project? This will be the question that all of us have to answer at the start of our projects. We were struggling with many obstacles when we started to workon our books, such as how do we find a photo that could work with our books, what element will unite all of our books together and how do we design each of our books to look like it is a part of the book set. But after a couple of weeks we got our books on the right track.

Our book set is about celebrations and festivals, which each member will be responsible for their own country. It will be celebrations and festivals from America, Japan and Thailand. We found many common elements such as dancing, parades, costumes, songs, family and religious values. I would like to thank my friends, who helped me find some of photographs in this book and the photographers who took them. Our instructors Brendan and Arvi who gave us knowledge and good critiques in the class. Also, my group members Mary and Taichiro for your hard work, your advice and patience in helping to get all of our books done. Finally, I hope that we created intriguing books for our reader to share the experience, history and knowledge of our different countries celebrations.


Celebration