Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mae Chaem Monks join Community Ceremony

Early in Oct we had an auspicious visit in the village of Huay Pakoot. Dozens of monks from temples located through-out Mae Chaem District came to join in the Gin Salaag holiday festivities.

It was an honour for the members of our community to host the monks, some of whom travelled several hours to make the visit. All of the villagers dressed in traditional Karen style. It was a beautiful scene with the white and red fabrics, long colourful skirts, and of course the monks' saffron robes.

To pay homage to the monks, or give Tamboon, each family in the community built a Ton Salaag - a tree shaped structure about 1 m tall built from banana tree, bamboo sticks, and adorned with origami banana leaf flowers. The family members would then decorate the tree with offerings for the monks, like snacks, useful household items, and money.

Our volunteers had the privilege of joining the event and many chose to contribute to their homestay host family's tree. At the temple there was a massive monk raffle, randomly assigning monks to each family's tree in a real festive atmosphere. Giving the offerings brings great honor and also good luck to each household. Below is a photo of village children in their traditional clothes checking out the Ton Salaag trees on display