Sunday, March 23, 2014

March Monk Ordinations

With school coming to a close for the summer, the number of monk ordinations in our community has surged. In Thailand, young men spend at least a short period of time as a monk, usually at the local wat (temple). After food and ceremony at home, a procession makes its way to the temple, gathering more and more people as it progresses.  As one of these huge processions came down the street towards our house, we decided that we should go outside to watch. Extremely loud music is a typical component of the procession. With music blasting out of huge speakers and the bass turned up so far that it’s hard to believe windows aren’t shattering, the procession moves down the street at a snail’s pace. It being relatively impossible to do anything as the whole house shakes definitely encourages everyone to take part in the festivities. Rather than resist the noise, we crossed the street to sit at the neighbor’s house so that I could record some of the procession on my camera. Here’s the video footage:

For some reason we thought that it would be possible to sit on the side lines. That never seems to be the case for us here though! No matter what, we still tend to stand out…Naturally, we got pulled into the street to dance and celebrate along with everyone else. Moments after being pulled into the street, somebody put hats on us to help keep us a little bit cooler. Little candies and wrapped coins rained down on us as the young man being ordained threw them from the truck we was elevated on.

We continued on our way to the wat, dancing along to the music with everyone else.  Once we arrived, the young man soon to be ordained was lifted onto the shoulders of family members.  We followed him as he circled around the bot (a ceremonial part of the wat) three times and continued to distribute candy and coins to everyone. Once the three laps were complete, he was then lifted to touch the doorframe of the bot before being taken into the building. From there more ceremony took place, but our role and that of most everybody besides close family came to an end. We gave back the hats and wandered back to our house.

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