Mae Hong Son Culture
misty stillness of Mae Hong Son's hillsides can only be described as a true
retreat after reaching one of the most northern points of Thailand and also
some of the home territories to the Shan hilltribes.
Long Neck Karen hilltribe
from Chiang Mai by air to Mae Hong Son and transfer to the Imperial Mae Hong
Son for an overnight stay. Over two days visit Fish Cave and Burmese style
temples-Wat Hua Wiang and Wat Chong Kam that hold Burmese artifacts brought
over 100 years ago. Wat Phra Non is also a must, with a huge reclining
Buddha and impressive large stone lion guardians. A 4WD adventure over
scenic hills to visit the remote Long Neck Karen hilltribe, combined with a
fulfilling trip along the Pai River is a fantastic way to end the trip.
Sang Long Procession
This is in fact the celebration of novice ordination which the Thai Yai
tribe people hold to be a highly meritorous occasion. Traditionally, the
candidate-novice, his head cleanly shaven and wrapped with head-cloth in the
Burmese style, will don a prince-like garment and put on valuable jewels and
gems, and ride a horse or be carried over the shoulders of a man to the city
shrine. Then he will visit abbots of various wets to beg for forgiveness. On
the ordination eve, a procession of offerings and other necessary personal
belongings will be paraded through the town streets and then placed at the
monastery where the ordination will take place the next day. It is usually
held during March-May before the Buddhist Rain Retreat period. Today the
tribesmen are encouraged to hold several processions at the same time with
the result that have become a major tourist attraction.
Chong Para Procession
The Chong Para in the Thai Yai dialect means a castle made of wood, covered
with colorful perforated papers and decorated with fruits, flags and lamps.
It is placed in the courtyard of a house or a monastery as a gesture to
welcome the Lord Buddha on his return from giving sermons to his mother in
heaven, according to traditional belief. The rite is held during the
postkain Retreat season from the full-moon day of the 11the Lunar month to
the waxing-moon night of the same month.
Other activities to celebrate the occasion include dances where performers
are dressed in animal costumes. This is based on the belief that during
those long-gone days, both humans and the animal kingdom were equally joyful
of the return of the Lord Buddha and therefore joined in a jubilant
performance as tribute of the Enlightened One.
Bua Tong Blossom Festival
Each year in November, the hillsides of Amphoe Khun Yuam and Amphoe Mae
Sariang are filled with a host of golden Bua Tong blooms. As gay as a daisy
and almost as a sunflower, the Bua Tong only blossomsfor 15 days. This is
enough reason for Mae Hong Son provincial to hold the Bua Tong Blossom
Festival at Amphoe Khun Yuam.
At Amphoe Khun Yuam's Dot Mae U-Kho, the blossoms appear profusely. Finally,
the golden blooms become part of the scene. Some specialists have classified
these Bua Tong as weeds and because of this, they may be cleared to make way
for cash crops. Fortunately a group of researchers have discovered the
flower's insect-repellent properties. And perhaps that is why the Bua Tong,
a symbol of Mae Hong Son, is still preserved on the hillsides.
Loi Krathong Festival
Loi Krathong Festival is held on the full moon night in the month of
November every year. Villagers make "Krathongs" to float in
rivers. At Nong Chong Kham, various entertainments and a contest of large
krathongs are held near the central pond. Lamps and candles are lit all
around the area. Moreover, at Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, there is a ceremony
of releasing candlelit krathongs bound with balloons to the sky (known as
''Lot Krathong Sawan