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Visakha Bucha Day in Thailand
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Marked by Buddhist faithful throughout the world, Visakha Bucha commemorates the life, enlightenment and death of the Lord Buddha some 2500 years ago. This year the holiday, which is sometimes known simply as Buddha’s birthday, fell on May 20. Every year on the night of Visakha Bucha Day it is tradition among local Buddhists to walk in an 11 km pilgrimage to Doi Suthep mountain to reach Phra That Doi Suthep temple. The journey takes several hours and a good deal of endurance, but it’s very popular and the walk is more like a parade. Upon arrival, the pilgrims walk three times around the temple’s main stupa before offering alms to the monks at sunrise.

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Visakha Bucha Day 02
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Thousand of people walk to Doi Suthep temple on the eve of Visakha Bucha.

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Visakha Bucha Day 03
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

A Buddhist monk is blesses devotees with water as they walk on the 11 km route from Chiang Mai town to Doi Suthep mountain.

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Visakha Bucha Day 04
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Devotees climb the stairs to reach the funicular at Doi Suthep temple.

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Visakha Bucha Day 08
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Young devotees perform the Wian Tian at Doi Suthep temple, walking around the main shrine holding a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bud.

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Visakha Bucha Day 11
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Devotees perform the Wian Tian at Doi Suthep temple, walking around the main shrine holding a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bud.

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Visakha Bucha Day 10
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Devotees perform the Wian Tian at Doi Suthep temple, walking around the main shrine holding a candle, three incense sticks and a lotus bud.

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Visakha Bucha Day 09
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Young buddhist monks prepare the lotus flowers offered at the entrance of the Doi Suthep Temple.

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Visakha Bucha Day 01
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Devotees offer candles and incense while praying at Doi Suthep temple.

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Visakha Bucha Day 05
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Some devotees sleep around the temple waiting for sunrise when monks walk out on the street to get alms.

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Visakha Bucha Day 12
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

The lights of Chiang Mai city from the terrace of Doi Suthep temple.

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Visakha Bucha Day 06
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

Devotees walk back from the temple to Chiang Mai late at night.

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Visakha Bucha Day 07
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
20 May 2016

At sunrise monks walked down the 300 stairs flanked by green trees and guarded by 16th-century Naga (snake) figures.
Devotees offer alms and are blessed by the monks.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 23
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
07 Apr 2016

On the next morning after be ordinated as novice monks, the young boys walk with their senior monks who show them the town. These boys went through a three-day ceremony during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and now have began their lives as Buddhist monks.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 17
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

On the last morning of the Poy Sang Long festival, the novice gets ready to be ordinated as a monk. For the last time, the boy dresses the lavish prince garment. The novice's mother Saengkaew dresses and gives her affection to her son.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 18
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula's father Sailong and the housing mother Lumong take care of the last details before the novice is ordinated as a monk. This is the last day of the three-day ceremony during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 19
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

As part of the ceremony, novices show their respect and care for the parents, a gesture that has an important role as they become young Buddhist monks. Parents hold their sons in an intimate moment while the abbot of the monastery gives a speech during the last day of the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 20
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

The little princes undress all their possessions and their lavish clothes to wear the monk robe and experience the monk life. Pau Son Kula's father helps his son to change clothes. This is the last day of the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 21
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, at the final stage of the three-day ceremony in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This is the point when the extravagance and party comes to an end and the young boys begin their lives as Buddhist monks.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 22
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
06 Apr 2016

Novice monks reciting Buddhist prayer following the direction of the senior monks. These boys went through a three-day ceremony during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and now have began their lives as Buddhist monks.

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Thai Monks Observe 'Poy Sang Long' Co...
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

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.”

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 05
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

Eleven novice monks take part at the ceremony in Wat Pa Pao temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. During the three day ceremony, music and dance are played by traditional Shan musicians.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 06
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, is carried on the shoulder of his father's friend. During the ceremony, the boy prince is only allowed to touch the ground either inside a family home or a temple as part of his novice ceremony at the Wat Pa Pao temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 09
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, and a novice friend, receive a donation from a family's friend in his home. During the second day of the ceremony in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the novices receive all the family members and friends, and every time they get a donation they have to recite a small prayer for them.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 14
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

The ordination of a son is a proud moment for all Buddhist parents, as they believe it will give them the highest merit. Pau Son Kula's parents invited and gave food to 700 guests during the three-day ceremony as part of the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 15
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
05 Apr 2016

The Wa Pa Pao temple was built late in the 19th Century by the Thai Yai community, an ethnic group originating in the Shan States of Burma. During the novice ceremony of Poy Sang Long festival, in Thailand, hundreds of people visit the temple which for the occasion is full with food stalls and other vendors.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 03
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, in his bedding corner at Wat Pa Pao monastery, where his mother's friends do make up the boy or the ceremony during the Poy Sang Long festival in Wat Pa Pao temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 04
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, wears one of the ceremony dresses with the help of his mother's cousin Lumong. During the festival in Chiang Mai, Thai kids are dressed in luxury garments like prince Siddhartha before becoming the Buddha.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 07
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

The novice monk sits in a chair behind a pick up car during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chinag Mai, Thailand. On the first day, the novice has to do a small pilgrimage, visiting four Shan Buddhist monasteries in the town.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 08
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

The novice monks pose for a picture with a senior monk at Wat Phra Singh temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The novices had a small parade with drums and dancing, performing a three-time loop around it, for each of the four temples they visited.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 10
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

Each novices, ceremony attendants and a mass of dancing and drumming participants set off in a parade around the temple every morning during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 11
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

When night falls, novice monk Pau Son Kula, 9, has time to relax between the visits of parents and friends he is received the day. His mother's cousin brings him to a drink in a stall inside the temple courtyard.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 12
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

After a full day on his friends and parents shoulders, Pau Son Kula, 9, gets some massage to relax after many hours without walking during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 13
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, plays with an electric car in the small corner where he is allowed to touch the floor. Each novice's family has a corner where they sleep, cook and offer food to guests as part of the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 16
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
04 Apr 2016

Shan ethnic group visits Wat Pa Pao temple to pray during the Poy Sang Long festival, a three-day Buddhist holiday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Wat Pa Pao is a striking example of a Burmese style temple and was built by Shans in 1883, who had come to Chiang Mai to work with the British in the logging industry and desired their own Buddhist place of worship.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 01
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
03 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, waits for his turn to have his head shaved at Wat Pa Pao temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Thailand Young Monks Ceremony 02
Chiang Mai
By vincenzo floramo
03 Apr 2016

Pau Son Kula, 9, has his head shaved by a monk that symbolizes the removal of all vanity. Every ethnic Shan child between 9 and 14 years old will participate in the traditional initiation ceremony during the Poy Sang Long festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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thailand lanterns 03
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. At the stroke of midnight people release the floating lanterns into the air, and with them let go of their burdens and worries.

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thailand lanterns 02
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monks release floating lanterns to welcome the New Year 2559 of the Buddhist calendar (2016).

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thailand lanterns 04
Chiang Mai
By Gloria Kurnik
31 Dec 2015

Wat Phan Tao Temple in Chiang Mai. Buddhist monk listens to the New Year's Eve sermon.