Poy Sang Long (The Novice Ordination) Tradition:
Shan believe in long years ago that if anyone held Poy Sang Long Tradition that is the novice ordination or the monk ordination in Buddhism will be gained a big merit. Poy Sang Long tradition has been done successively for hundreds of years since the evacuation of Shan into this territory. It is popular held the tradition in the period of March-April which is the period of school vacation and also it is time to free from work in farm. Poy Sang Long is as a great tradition of Shan; it has to take as a month of time in preparing and has many steps, spends a lot of expenses, and has also to require people with knowledge and expertise in various events to help then it will be a success.
Steps of Preparation:
After there is an agreement to arrange Poy Sang Long tradition all the hosts will come for a discussion and consultation meeting and prepare various things of Sang Long such as the Alms, drum and various fanfare machines. In addition, prepare persons to carry their different functions e.g. the persons who prepare for monk culinary culture, and those who come to join the ceremony, mentors of Sang Long or Tapae Sang Long in Shan. The mentors have duties to take care of Sang Long since bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping and carrying Sang Long on the neck going to various places, open an umbrella, take care all Sang Long’s security all the time. Generally, one Sang long can have 2-4 mentors. After preparation, Sang Long will be presented to abbot by his parents in order to be trained by the abbot, practice memorizing the ordination blessing from 7-10 days before the date of commencement
3-4 days before starting the ceremony there will be a lot of people to help to prepare for many things at the hosts’ house for example the things to welcome the guests including all welcome foods, deserts, for the persons who have skill in creating will come and join each other to decorate the Alms, eight necessities of a Buddhist monk, and the other things using in the procession. Some will help decorating Teekum or Sang Long’s umbrella with multi-colored of garlands and also arranging the venue of Poi Sang Long with completely of beauty. In this period the hosts will bring foods to join among the guests, at night, it will be decorated and brighten with lights together with drumming Klong Mong Sueng (Shan’s drum) it is a set of drums and cymbals which prepared for the guests to play merrily. One day before the ceremony everything will be ready, and the parents of Sang Long will bring their son to shave hair at the temple and shower with water soaked with gold, silver, sompoi, and turmeric for being auspicious, powder, wearing and covering with white.
When the first day of ceremony comes Sang Long’s parents and all relatives will get up before dawn taking the child who will be Sang Long to bath and then take him to the temple dressing in Sang Long’s dress which is similar to the prince of Shan. Wearing in white pants and a vest inside, outside wears a loincloth releases the back longer, captures lobes and fastens with a gold or silver belt. Wearing a cylinder sleeves with curved forearm and embroidered shirt with various flowers patterns, the shirt and the loincloth colors will be similar to each other such as the loincloth is a fresh color the shirt will be a white or light pink, puts on white socks and carries a fan in the hand. For Sang Long’s ornaments, both of the shoulders will be decorated by round ribbon with end hanging down, on the neck will have an ornament called Kabkaw which made of a piece of round gold-plated with patterned for 5-6 pieces, on the head of Sang Long will be fastened with fresh-colored cloth, put up the hair, and inserted different types of flowers. After finish dressing of Sang Long, Sang Long will ask for precepts and blessing from the monks, and the monks will bless him back. After that Sang Long’s mentor will carry Sang Long on his neck going down from the temple and dancing at the temple area, another mentor will open the umbrella for Sang Long, there is music playing with a long bottom drum, cymbals, gong and small cup-shaped cymbals in Sang Long’s procession, it is a celebration to welcome Sang Long. The relatives and parents will scatter popped rice, flowers for congratulation, after that, the procession will be moved to village shrine to make a reverence and asking for apologize, after finish, will continue moving to various temples asking for forgiveness from the monks, and then go to the home of his relatives and friends asking for apologize or to the people respected throughout the day. When Sang Long procession arrives at any house, the hosts will come to receive and bring a thread tying on the wrist of Sang Long for welcome back, then Sang Long will bless them as the monks do, and after that the procession will go continuingly to another house. At night time, it is time for Sang Long to have a rest at the hosts’ house; there will be persons to come to join to do the merit all night. There is Kong Mong Sueng drum alternating with Hed Gwam or Shan singing to lull those participants the ceremony.
The second day of ceremony there will be the parade of Alms or Koluu in Shan. It will have a great number of people to join dressing with various colors of Shan style full of decorations. The parade of Koluu at Poy Sang Long tradition can be regarded as the great and most beautiful of the parade, which has most people to join more than any other tradition in Mae Hong Son.
The Alms figure parade will include the following sections:
Geeja, or metal bronze gong, which will be in front of the parade carried by 2 persons. The latter will hit Geeja in slow rhythms since it is believed that Geeja is a declaration of doing merit to the angels and letting people have been known.
Ub it is a container made of silver lacquer and gilded, stick with glass decorated similar to casket, it is an offerings to Lord Buddha which consists of flowers, incense, candle, sweet, and flower cone. It is carried by 2 persons to offer to Lord Buddha.
Ruler’s horse it is the special chosen horse with beautiful elegant character and tame. On the back covered with carpet decorated with flowers and other His machines before joining the procession. It will be brought to invite the ruler at village shrine or town shrine to come to join for auspiciousness, and brings all happiness and calm into Poy Sang Long tradition.
Tapesa tree: It has a feature as same as a castle with bamboo frame padded with mulberry paper and decorated with drilled paper with multi-colored and patterns put on the square base holding with two bamboo beams for carrying. Tapesa tree made to offer to Lord Buddha and it is the important prominent point of the Alms procession.
Napesa tree: it is similar to Tapesa tree, it differs only the decorations. All the decorations on Napesa tree will be the appliances of the temple such as plates, bowls, trays, pots, spoons, and glasses.
Poog Kao Tawg: it is the popped rice wrapped by mulberry paper tied with triangles flag which called Jaag Ja in Shan then brought to tie with bamboo’s branches with nice decoration, many colors. How more or less of bamboos will be depended on the number of Sang Long in any of the procession. A parade will be held as a man, it is the most important thing that is indispensable in the Alms procession.
Ten Nguen Ten Kum are candles and incenses and also the offerings which will be presented to the preceptor by Sang Long. The number of them is equal to the number of Sang Long, and will be held as a woman.
Silver and Gold bushes: they are the bushes made of silver and gold paper matching together, and they are the offerings which will be offered to Lord Buddha by Sang Long and also are the decorations of the procession that will be held as a woman.
U-Tong Pan Tong: they are checkers cone, betel cone and flowers cone for Sang Long to use for worship.
Maw Num Ta: it is a clay pot wrapped by white cloth plugged by 9 kinds of leaves; each kind of them has the meaning of auspiciousness.
The music instruments will use a Mong Sueng drum binds the drum with many gongs with bamboo beam, it will be carried by men and playing together in the parade.
The Alms for presented to the invited monks held as a woman:
The eight necessities of a Buddhist monk: they are the use of a novice which consists of a yellow robe, monk’s alms bowl, beddings, and other things bound with bamboo, they will be carried together by men and women.
Sang Long parade will be nearly end of the parade. Today, Sang Long and mentors, and the person who open the umbrella to Sang Long, all will dress in special beautiful dresses, while moving the procession, there will be dancing from the rhythm of long bottom drum which makes it enjoy and fun.
At the end of the procession will be Rocket procession which brought to join for the auspiciousness, and lighting it for celebration of Poy Sang Long tradition on the last day.
Sang Long procession will leave from the starting point and pass the various important roads to temple. Along the way both the old men and women will bring popped rice and flowers sprinkle towards those who come to attend the parade all the way. The parade will end at the temple and has to march around the temple for three more rounds, after that, bringing all the Alms to put in front of the Buddha. Later, the hosts will bring foods to join with those who attended, in the evening; it will have banquet ceremony to Sang Long, after finish the old will have a duty to console Sang Long by tying the wrist of Sang Long and later all the relatives, parents, and all the guests will gradually come and doing the same thing that is end of the second day ceremony.
The third day of ceremony, today, Sang Long will be brought to ordain at the temple, from the morning; those who attended will come to join together at the temple. After that there will be reading of Dharma book or Thomleeg in Shan, it will read to all the attended to listen in the Shan language. When lunch time for monks, the invited monks will be offered some foods and later it is time for the meals to Sang Long and all guests who come to attend. After that will be the start of ordain time, Sang Long will be brought to sit in front of the monks and saying to request for yellow robe then changing the dress from Sang Long to the novice, after finish the novice will come to ask for the commandment from the monks and the older Buddhist monks will give a sermon and suggest various practices. There will be preaching a sermon, after that the hosts offer the Alms, Tapesa tree, and the monks congratulation; that means end of the tradition.