The Chong Phara tradition is the tradition that is concerned making merit of Shan style in Mae Hong Son province. Chong means “a temple or a castle” and the other Para means “Buddha image” or “the Lord Buddha”. Chong Phara is the build of castle to welcome the Lord Buddha from the paradise on the end of Buddhist Lent day.
Chong Phara or the Buddha’s castle is the art of Shan. The frame is made of bamboo and padded with mulberry paper. It also is decorated with colorful paper which is drilled the holes to make the beautiful patterns then put it on the scaffold. Besides it is hanged with all the local fruits, and the four sides of the scaffold will be tied with banana and sugar cane trees which decorated perfectly with bright lanterns.
Chong Phara will be set for worship in the early evening on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon in the eleventh month, and there will also be inviting and welcoming ceremony in the early morning on the fifteenth day of the waxing moon in the eleventh month which is directly on the same day of the end of Buddhist Lent day. On this day the villagers will bring food in the banana leave cup which is included with steam rice, dessert, and fruit put them inside Chong Phara. Lighting the incense to worship and saying to invite the Lord Buddha to come and stay completely in Chong Phara for seven days for auspiciousness. After ending seven days of worship Chong Phara will be burnt or thrown away. It is unfavorable for keeping and will be rebuilt for the following year use.
The Chong Phara tradition is the tradition to worship the Lord Buddha. It is believed that if this tradition is held by any family, that family will full of happiness and can gain a lot of merit. On the same way it is also believed that if any village makes Chong Phara and keeps worship in the temple of the village entirely for seven days after the end of Buddhist Lent day. The villagers in that village will all be happy, too.