We scrambled this morning to get into town in time for this annual event and were glad we did! In a verdant grove of teak trees on the west side of campus, the CMU Fine Arts Department puts on an eye-dazzling ceremony every year at this time to honor their teachers ('kru'/guru), to welcome the new incoming class and to show off their talents and skills.
Led by a shaman (in white), the ceremony includes lots of traditional ritual to appease and honor the gods of creativity. He was joined by Ajan Vithi, Chiang Mai's famous 'master of ceremonies' and former head of the Fine Arts Department.
Then the dancing girls (and guys) revved up the festivities with a steady flow of ornately outfitted dancers performing a variety of dances, along with traditional drumming.
Thankfully, not everything was red and white...
The good-looking drummers also had some good-looking tattoos.
The scene is a casual one, with students, teachers and onlookers wandering around the grounds, giving the fashionistas an opportunity to show off their costumes. Traditional live music accompanied all and food and water was passed out to the attendees.
This lady is wearing a style (albeit more jazzed up) from the early 20th century that was in vogue thanks to Princess Dararasami, consort to Rama V and from the Chiang Mai royal family of the time.
This is a most curious combination of Gangsta chic, a Khmer silk skirt,
and formal clown shoes. . . . ?!
Where did they get those leggings?! And what do they represent?
My choice for the most elegant- this gentleman is wearing a recent
version of the prized,antique Muang Hun 'phaa sin' from Laos,
along with a jaunty Tai Lue hat.
These ladies are in the usual ceremonial dress seen in Lan Na:
traditional 'phaa sin' with shawls, metal belts, and flowers in their hair.
One has to wonder where all these beautiful people went as the festivities ended and everyone dispersed. . .
Just another day in the life of Chiang Mai.
Labels: chiang mai, CMU, dance, drummers, shaman, tattoo