This is a very minor happening and is mostly a photo gallery with comments but I hope you find it interesting. These small but involving events define the passing of the year in the village and provide breaks to the everyday routine however pleasant that is.

After a long period of quiet on the party front due to the death of the king last year it was great to see the village back on the streets today in festival mode. Every year pre-Songkran, the huge Thai New Year holiday starting 13 April, many moo bans have these small events to take a long cloth with painted Buddha images from a point outside the village, usually with water – a river or pond, to their wat. Isaan people enjoy any excuse for a party so there’s always Isaan music, dancing and plenty of drinking to help the process. Great fun.

We started early with our own party at home with Yuan, Lud and a few friends before joining the larger crowd. As you can see from the beer bottles under the table we started  early on the drinking part of the day.

A lively group even before we got going with the festival.

I keep writing about the “normalness” of my Thai family in relation to this farang and money just to try let people know that the bad rap many Thai families get isn’t always like that. In this case Yuan bought the first round of beers, Apple, Gaun’s cousin bought the next and we provided meat and a third shout. Much the same as any group of friends and family would operation in a western situation.

Lud was nominated as BBQ chef.

Here he is online with a nephew from Chon Buri called Khaw showing him what he is missing out on! Khaw will be arriving back home in three weeks with other family members who are now working elsewhere for the Songkran week.

Unripe mangos arrive for desert from the land next door. They are eaten with sugar and chilli powder. 

A photo moment for Yuan. We are getting a little bit of early rain so everything in the garden is a vivid lush green as you can tell.

Leaving home we picked up a lift to the starting point in the countryside. It was on the same road as the family farm about 1 km outside the moo ban.

The school kids have been practicing for this and are dressed for the occasion. The official party is on the higher ground.

The old guy reading the blessing on the left with the yellow cloth over his shoulder is the local “spiritman”. He conducts non-Buddhist ceremonies and has appeared in a number of my posts such as our house blessing ceremony HERE.

He is very ancient now and I suspect we will be having a village event for him in the not too distant future.

Four monks from the local wat in attendance.

The ice cream van was busy. Given a choice between listening to prayers or getting a free ice cream………….

Even the dancers got involved. Beautiful costume.

With the blessing over the formal dancers lead the procession into the village.

I have written about the brightly dressed boy in the middle in a previous post. He decided at a very early age that he wanted to be a ladyboy and everyone accepts him as that. Something that would be most likely suppressed in our society or require extensive counselling. That’s his sister dancing on his right.

The cloth is unrolled and carried with the dancers.

Gaun tells me that the lady on the left carrying the green umbrella in the video is her old school teacher – now retired. How she survived Gaun I have no idea. “Suban” (Gaun’s real first name – Thais are only known by their nicknames) was often heard in the classroom and the bamboo cane regularly applied. I suspect she would have been pleased when Gaun left school aged twelve and got a job in Udon Thani.

The ice cream heads to the temple. All food is donated for an event like this as people work to gain Buddhist merit.

Talcum powder is applied to faces not just for cool but as a sign of friendship and respect. You will see cars with flour on them over the course on the big national festivals for the same reason.

Spot the farang. 

For some unknown reason Gaun managed to score carrying the temple gong for a while.

The cloth enters the village itself. The primary school where the dancers come from is on the left.

The party picked up more people as it wound through the streets.

As always the formal Buddhist part of the event leads the way with the rowdy dancers (Gaun and friends included) at the back with the music truck. The party goers usually get slower and slower as they get closer to the temple because that’s where the music stops and it all gets formal again. The people at the front are constantly stopping, as they are here, in the hope that the rest will catch up 🙂 It is all done in good humour. “Sanuk” in Thai means to have fun and enjoy yourself and as you can tell from the faces there was plenty of that happening here.

One of the troublemakers slowing everything down! My wife Gaun.

See what I mean.

The three amigos.

The lady on Gaun’s right is called Jan and we bought our land from her in 2013, which you can read about HERE. On Gaun’s left is Ban who owns the land next to oursand shows no inclination that she’s going to sell it to me 🙁

My builder Ming joined the group (on my right) and bought me a bottle of beer. I have been lucky in meeting so many quality people during my time in Thailand.

This girl was throwing sweets out to the crowd. She will be throwing water next month for Songkran parties.

Thais are really sensible with keeping their intake on water happening in the heat. Many households put out iced water for people in the celebrations to use. During Songkran the buckets tend to be tipped on partygoers and boy is that iced water cold down your back!

Regular readers will recognise my little mate Phum from previous stories.

Peng, my stepdaughter, and friend.

We end up at the wat and everyone digs into free food and more ice cream.

The cloth is delivered. This room has been specially decorated by the village elders for the event.

These have been hand woven with coloured cotton. You can see the cloth, which has now been wrapped around this area, above Gaun.

As always these ceremonies tend to have practical aspect to them. As we come towards the theoretical end of the dry season the goal is for positive energy to encourage good rains for the rice crops, which will start to be planted in June. After a long period of drought we had a more normal wet season last year and this year looks as if it might be the same thank goodness.

Everyone heads home.

Can we fit one more? The young lady on the back is a cousin of Gaun called Apple. You can read about her Isaan wedding HERE.

Friends, food, drink and a party. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Thanks for reading.