Thailand 05 Apr 2016 00:00
The Poy Sang Long Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is celebrated as a three-day holiday in the country and sees boys aged between 9 and 14 be ordained as novice Buddhist monks at the Wat Pa Pao temple.
Pau Son Kula is a 9 year-old boy and he will become a Buddhist monk, something that is a matter of pride and honor to his parents and other relatives.
This colorful tradition of the Shan ethnic people of celebrating their young sons becoming novice monks is an ancient custom that is thought to have started with the first Buddhist “novice” Prince Rahula, the Buddha’s own son who gave up his lavish nobility to follow his father’s spiritual teachings.
During the three-day ceremony, the boy’s family and their close friends live at the temple courtyard where they have a camp, where they cook and sleep. Pau Son Kula’s parents have invited 700 guest to assist in the ceremony. “I am very happy because in this three days I will meet family members that I have not seen for a year”, said Sailon, 34, Pau Son’s father and who moved to Thailand, migrating from the southern Shan province in Myanmar 16 years ago.
Shan migrants have brought over the tradition from Myanmar. The ceremony goes on for three days, as the boy is dressed as the prince Shiddarta and spends all the time being carried around on the shoulders of his older relatives.
“I am very proud of my son these days. I love this Buddhist tradition where we celebrate the unity of our family in these blessing days”, recalls Saengkaew, Pau Son’s mother.
Novice monks usually experience the monk life for a period between three days up to a week, and some for even a longer time. When asked about his experience during the festival, Pau Son Kula said “I enjoy very much the ceremony and the festival. I think a monk’s life must be a little hard.”