Not long after my last blog post I had the opportunity to attend another ceremony in Baan Nong Do, my wife’s home town. I asked what the purpose of the ceremony was, and from what I was able to gather the ceremony takes place in temples across Thailand. Notice that I still don’t know what the ceremony is about, except that it raises funds for the maintenance of the three temples in town and is an excuse for the villagers to get together, eat, drink and have a good time together.
If you are getting the impression that village life in Thailand revolves around the temples you would be right. Mai’s Mother is up at the crack of dawn every day to make food as do many other villagers, to give to the monks who rely on the villagers for their daily sustenance. The monks are very well fed and make the excess food available to poor and elderly villagers who can’t provide for themselves. Among other activities, Mai joins a few dozen folks a few times a year to stay at the temple overnight to meditate and generally “recharge” their spiritual batteries.
This latest ceremony began in a forest outside of town. In fact, it was a rubber plantation, which made for a beautiful setting. Monks from the three local temples were there to pray and provide blessings to those in attendance.
The hundred or so people in attendance were shuttled to the site in pickup trucks. I arrived in a truck with Mai’s Mother and several of her sisters and other relatives. We had to walk the last hundred or so metres to the site on a dirt road with deep ruts. I’m not that steady on my feet and a few steps into the walk my Mother-in-Law called out a few words and within seconds I was surrounded by Aunties, one of whom took my arm to keep me steady as we walked. I looked back and Yai gave me a smile. I was grateful for the help!
The ceremony was brief, some prayers and blessings and a few people collecting donations.
Following the ceremonies everyone walked back to the main temple in town, about 2 kilometers. It looked like a lot of fun, but I caught a ride with Mai so I could be there to take photographs when everyone arrived. Everybody was in a cheerful mood despite the heat. People were handing out drinks and there was plenty of music and dancing.
Blessing by the monks before entering the temple grounds
Below are some photos of the parade back to the temple. I feel strange not having more to tell you about this. It was fun, and an interesting look into village life and I’m relying heavily on the picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words rule. In this way I have saved myself a lot of writing and you get to see some interesting photos!
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