Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hot Season Celebrations

While the wall support and outside walls were being worked on at Bann Nah, three main celebrations took place, as they do each year during Thailand’s “hot season” (springtime in the USA):

I wrote about Boon Pak Whet (aka “Boon Pakwet”) in the early months of my first year retired in the Thai countryside, in 2012, and also shot some video. This village-specific celebration has Buddhist undertones, but is largely secular and is considered by many a village male as warm-up to Songkrahn.

In 2014, I wrote a little about Songkrahn (aka “Songkran”), the beginning of the Thai New Year. It also is not a Buddhist celebration but contains Buddhist ceremonies mostly specific to family.

I haven’t written about Boon Buak Bahn before, although I may have mentioned it in passing. It also is not strictly a Buddhist celebration but contains Buddhist undertones and I believe it comes from a time somewhere between the introduction of Buddhism to Thailand and the invention of string – I’m not kidding.

String is strung through the main road in the village and the two roads leading into it. People tie their own string to the main string and bring their string – elevated, not touching the ground – into their homes and wrap it around their homes’ Budda statues. The main string is terminated at the village’s community center and tied up around the village’s Buddha statues. So, all important Buddha castings in the village are tied together. For three days, villagers pray and chant here, with the assistance of local monks. The main purpose of this celebration appears to be to safeguard the village from evil or malignant forces that may try to strike it during the year.

Unlike the other two celebrations, the drinking of alcohol does not play a role in Boon Buak Bahn.

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