Tribal Trappings – Asian Ethnic Art, Artifacts, Textiles and Folk Art Tribal Trappings – Thoughts about Thailand, Chiang Mai, things tribal including textiles, ethnographica and folk art <data:blog.pageTitle/>

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cheers to the New Year! Part 2

Coward that I am, most of my photos were taken at a friend's shop from the second floor balcony overlooking Tha Pae Rd., as I really did not want to sacrifice my camera to the gods of Songkran. I was there mainly to document, for you Dear Reader, the kinder and gentler side of Songkran: the parade of Buddhas, brought out to be cleansed for the new year and to bestow merit on those doing the cleansing.

For this a necessary ingredient is 'lustral/holy water'-
a special, fragrant water made with the flowers of certain trees, plus special herbs and seed pods.

It is poured onto the Buddhas and that which has run off is given back as reciprocal blessings. It can be a lovely ritual when done with small silver cups or ladles, and proper timing. Unfortunately, the Buddhas were often parading by at speed and there was barely time to throw some holy water in their direction.

More venerable and sacred ones, however, were on old, ornately carved, hand-pulled carriages.

Some were on elaborately constructed and ornamented floats

and even the common rickshaw was elevated to a conveyance of the holy (tho surprisingly no tuk tuks were to be seen)

Buddhas from all over the province were brought out for the ritual cleansing and included a variety of postures and materials:

a standing Buddha

a red-headed one

a large alabaster Buddha

a very large silver Buddha

a small, but sweet jade Buddha

gold Buddhas


a very dark green bronze one

It's always a treat to see so many beautiful Buddha figures all decked out for their big day.
Part 3 of 3

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