Traditional Ceremony

Loy Kroh Ceremony

is one of the ceremonies held by the southern locals, who live near the sea, which has been influenced by the Hindus’ ritual in India since Buddha’s era, Purify Ceremony that was. Here’s the story…

Once there’s a full moon of the third lunar month, it was the first Magna Puja, in which Buddha gave 1250 Arhantas (monks), who came to see the Buddha that evening without any schedule, the principles of Buddhism, called “The Ovadhapatimokha”. The news spread to the Hindus, who also had their own god’s worshiping ceremony at the very same day, Shivaratri. Shivaratri held at night by the Ganges River, where everybody would wash theirselves and drink the water, which they believe the water would drive away devils, pain, illness and gain some happiness.

As the record, Nakon Sithammarat was the first city that Buddhism came to Thailand. Buddhism has brought many Indian and Hindus’ civilizations here, for example marriage ceremony, Kon Jook ceremony, etc.

Loy Kroh Ceremony is the ritual for taking away horrible things out of yourself and your family. They were held by the monks or Brahmans to pray against the devils. Samui locals got this influence from Nakon Srithammarat.

The ceremony usually occurs in April until May, near the beach. Each beach has its own shrine called Saan Pho Ta, resides the town protecting angel.

The ceremony starts at night, monks would pray and there’s Nora Dancing. At dawn people would cook and distribute to the monks. Then the major dancer of the 1 Nora will perform Cheek Mei (Cham Lei) Ceremony, he will inform the angel that the vows which the locals took would be complete. He will use the sacred sword, stabbing it to Ho Mei at the middle pole in front of the shrine. Then the locals will put some rice, money, hair and nails into a small raft and set it off to the sea. The leader will dress in white like Brahman, praying for driving off the evil spirits to go with that raft. Then the locals will drink the holy water and wash their faces for good luck one more year.

Chak Phra Festival

 

Chak Phra has been a long tradition of Samui. It started since a temple became a center of communities, following by several traditions including Wan Ook Pansa or the Final Day of the Lental Season.

In Buddhist’s legend, Lord Buddha went to heaven to deliver a sermon to his mother. After completing his mission in heaven, Lord Buddha then returned to earth

and was greeted by a crowd of his disciples and followers. The events of Lord Buddha’s return to earth and annually take place immediately after the end o f the 3- months Rains Retreat.

Chak Phra Festival then started after this legend. When Wan Ook Pansa comes, many temples would decorate their parade with Buddha’s statues. Some of the temples would float the boat (with Buddha statue in it) to certain town for people to pray and worship for a night. There are monks praying at night and some local performances. And they would come back to the temple next morning. Chak Phra literally means “pulling of the Buddhist monks.”

To mark this occasion, two float-pulling ceremonies are held, one on land and the other on water. On land, the splendidly adorned floats are pulled across the town by the participants of the ceremony. At the same time, on water, the ceremony is highlighted by a float decorated in colourful Thai design of a float made to carry the Buddha image. This float is then towed to the middle of the river for a religious ceremony. On the following day, the float carrying t he Buddha image is towed along the river so that river so that people can worship and make merit.

Both land and river events are highly colourful. The participants would dress nicely and there are many songs and traditional performances. The Chak Phra festival then concludes with an exciting boat race and a traditional game.

Rub Song Ta Yay Festival

 

One of the famous festivals for southern people in Thailand is Sart Duen Sib (especially in Nakhon Sithammarat). For Samui natives, they call it Rub Song Ta Yay Festival. The festival has been influenced by India culture like many festivals have. That’s because Thailand has been in contact with India from the South of Thailand for so long.

In Brahmanism, There’s a Petaplee Ritual, which you would give offerings for the spirit of the dead person, ancestors, ghosts and devils, for they would receive portions of merit and be in peace. Buddhism has adapted this ritual since King Pimpisarn and it then has continuously done since ancient time to present day. Buddhists believe that when the deceases, whether they are in heaven or in hell, got the portions of merit, they would be free from sufferings and gain happiness even more. Samui natives then adapted this ritual via Nakhin Sithammarat.

Buddhists believe that their spirit relatives, ancestors and Pred or sinners living in hell, are momentary permitted by King of Hell to leave and meet their relatives in the evening of the waning moon of the tenth lunar month, and return on the fifteenth waning moon of the tenth lunar month for fifteen days. People would buy fruits, food and many items for making confections which are the symbols of the festival

These are five confections which have the following meanings: “Khanom La” means clothes or costumes; “Khanom Pawng” means the raft or float to cross the ocean between hell and earth; “Khanom DeeSam” means money; “khanom Bah” means Sa-ba for the dead to play on Songkran Day; and “khanom Gong” means

ornaments.

Southern people will do rite on the fourteenth waning moon of the tenth lunar month. On this day, people prepared and decorated”Mhrab”-the total of confections, rice, fruits, joss-sticks, candles, flowers, and spices like a pagoda. Then , they set up a parade of “Mharb” and decorate it with flowers. After that, they move the parade to

the temple in the neighborhood area to offer “Mharb” to Buddhist monks.

People make merit for ancestors and ghosts on the fifteenth waning moon of the tenth lunar month. In the morning, they go to the temple with pictures and bone of ancestors and dedicate for them. Next, they combine the confections in trays and lay them down for offering to demons. Once the trays are put down, a bunch of people snatch the food called “snatching demons” or “Ching Pret”. They believe that eating the leftover food from worshiping the ancestors will bring them merit.

Sart Duen Sib is important festival for Southern families to reunite. They express gratitude to ancestors and dedicate for them. They do this in the tenth lunar month, or in September of every year.

Kin Kao Hor Tradition

In the ancient time, native Samui’s occupations are mostly farming, which is far away from their home. Or if they had to visit their relatives who lived in quite a distance, whether on feet or boat, they had to bring lunch with themselves. Their lunch was called Kao Hor.

Kao Hor is rice in a banana leaf with side dish, mostly are dry foodstuff for example Nam Prik (chili sauce), fried or grilled salted fish and boiled salted egg or omelets. Then they wrapped it in a square shape and brought it with them.

Kao Hor then has been developing since, Samui natives would make Kao Hor with banana leaves, sugar palm leaves and palm leaves, because they make the rice inside smell more delicious. And when they finish their lunch they can throw away Kao Hor. They used to eat with their hands in the ancient time. This is the way Kao Hor is.

Time goes by and eating Kao Hor for lunch alone became a group or family activity. The container (banana leaf) has been changed to food carrier (Pinto) and the dry foodstuff became full option food with dessert and fruits. They would eat near the beach or the riverside with a huge mat on which they are sitting. They would eat with spoon and fork, with ice and several drinks. It’s totally changed from the ancient era!

Kin Kao Hor in Samui turned out to be very famous in Samui Island. They would make many Kao Hors for various occasion for example the welcome party of Tawee Julsaap, Kriangsak Chomnan or many military troops with more than 100 to 1000 people.

Chuan Leekpai once came to Samui and tried Kao Hor with Samui locals, once said “Eating in the restaurant just tastes the food but eating Kao Hor is just like learning cultures and the generosity of the locals”

Loy Kratong Festival

Loy Kratong Festival has been in Thai culture since Sukhuthai Era and still celebrates nowadays. For Samui Island, it started in 2507 by Phra Kru Seetawat Kunaporn, the head monk of Wat Bo Sukaram at the time. He organized Loy Kratong event at Klong Bang Ta near Bo Phut community, which has a small river linking with the sea. It interested the locals very much. There were several types of Kratong, traditional and the new designs were invented.

Loy Kratong Festival took place at the full moon of the 12th month of the lunar year. The wave of the sea and beautiful Kratongs are shining under the moonlight, they’re such wonderful scenes. There are several places that held the big event in Koh Samui, such as Phra Yai Koh Faan, Baan Plai Laem, Bo Phut, Na Thon Market, Kanjanapisek Building and Samui Pier. It also features the beauty pageant aka Nang Noppamas and traditional performances. Then they will bring Kratong to float at the river or the sea. Many hotels would organize their pool for tourists to participate this fabulous event.

New Year’s Day

December – 1 January is the international New Year’s Day. Samui locals usually bring their presents to their elder’s relatives and ask for their new year’s blessings. Some would make their merits in the morning and listening to the monk’s praying for their new year’s good luck.

Songkran Day

Samui people adapted Songkran day from North and Central part of Thailand. They would organize the event quite simple, pouring the water to the elders for forgiveness and giving them presents. Also they sprinkle water onto a Buddha image. The event is held in April and it’s also a public holiday.

Rod Nam Sang (Thai Marriage)

Rod Nam Sang has just been popular for 10 to 15 years. It’s a Thai tradition wedding ceremony. They adapted it from Brahmanism. The monks are the center of the ceremony; they put Mongkol Faad on the married couple’s heads, praying for the couple’s good luck and sprinkle the holy water for them.

Some couple would organize a big event like in the city. They arrange a stage for guests to congratulate the couple.

Samui’s newly created festival

Wat Lang Sart Festival and Kong Dee at Samui

 

Samui Sanitation and Samui Cultural Center invented this event in 2540 for preserving Thai traditions and supporting Samui’s products such as fruits products, crops, local food, crafting, basketry and kalamere’s making (Kuan Yar Nom). There’s also an exhibition of folk wisdom and tourism.

The event occurs in September annually, which commonly known as the month that lots of fruits are coming to the market such as rambutans, mangosteen, durian and langsat.

It also features several performances such as Housewives’ cooking class, Kin Kao Hor, Thai Boxing show, Talong theatre etc. which reflects Samui cultural life.