Shan Traditions

Shan’s traditions are nearly held in every month and because Shan strictly believe in Buddhism therefore most of the traditions are stressed in making merit and giving alms. The details of Shan important traditions are as follow:

Poijati (The Worship of a Sand Pagoda):
Poijati or The Worship of a Sand Pagoda has been inherited by Shan every year for a long time. It is held At Phanon Temple (Reclining Buddha) Mae Hong Son Muang district and other temples in the villages of each district, on the purpose of worship the Buddha and praying for seasonal rainfall. It generally held in June, 7 days before the festival commences in the every evening after finishing  working the villagers will help together carrying sand to the temple putting it at the provided area of the temple until there is sufficient to build a sand pagoda. The villagers will help together again to build the pagoda and decorate it with Shan’s flags, tiers, colorful of rainbows, and various kinds of flowers, at night the lamps are lit brightly and beautifully. Now when the day, the villagers will dress themselves in Shan style with beautiful colors to join the festival and bring some sweet, bananas, sugarcanes, rice, foods, flowers, candles, incense, and others to offer at the temple. After that, there will be Buddhist preaching or “Thomleek” in the Shan language, after finishing, offering some food to the monks and having a party to all participants. In the afternoon, there will be “Fireballs Procession Contest” before bringing to lit in the field far away from the village. The purpose is to warn all the angles to destine for seasonal rainfall.

Poi Learn Sib Ed:
Poi Learn Sib Ed or “End of Buddhist Lent Day” tradition is a very important tradition of people in Mae Hong Son. In month eleven about thirteenth-fourteenth of waxing moon there will be a fair selling and buying all day and night. The villagers will buy some food or something for making merit at the temple on the fifteenth of waxing moon. In the morning of the fifteenth of waxing moon there will be giving alms to the Buddhist monks (Tug Bat Tawo) at Phra That Doi Kong Mu temple, which located on the top of the hill, the monks will parade down from the top of the temple to Muay Tor temple which is located at the foothill, thousands of people will be scattered in line along both sides of the road in order to wait for giving alms to the monks. It is very beautiful appearance, at night houses and temples will light very bright lanterns and will also have “Chong Phara Procession” or “Castle Procession” to welcome the Buddha to come from the paradise. The castle will be decorated beautifully, and there will be various local entertainments and “Thousand Candles Procession” (Lu Ten Heng), too.

Ton Gia Tradition:
After end of Buddhist lent day about October each of community will bring pine wood to cut into small pieces and tie them to be a big trunk about 3-5 meters high with beautiful decoration then parade to the temple and light it brightly which regards as making merit and will make the life progress. Moreover, in the procession will comprise with thousand of candles and offerings parade along the various roads, and there will be beauty contest among each community. In the procession will have some shows and competition such as local culture show, Shan music which make fun among the procession.

Poi Lu Kaow Yaku: 
The tradition of Poi Lu Kaow Yaku is a tradition that held in every year. It is the tradition that has affiliation with the villagers who do agriculture for a long time. It regards as the tradition that held by Shan. Shan believe that after farming or harvesting there have to be some recall of rice kindness which protects their farms and giving them rice to nourish their lives. After getting some new rice they have to give to the temple to make auspicious for their lives, so on a day of month 3 which is exactly to February of every year Shan will hold the tradition of Kaow Yaku since then.

Way of making Kaow Yaku:
bringing the sticky rice to steam until it is cooked then put it into the pot and pouring molasses with coconut milk after that mixes it and put some peanut with roast sesame then put it on the tray and put some scratch coconut on top cutting it into pieces and wrapping with banana leave or putting it into a bag to keep to the temple. The left of Kaow Yaku will be donated to the villagers in the past there was a procession of Kaow Yaku by using a nice decorated cart carried Kaow Yaku and went around the village. There were still some entertainments about folk music, and dancing to make more fun.

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