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Friday, 14 October 2011

Rua Chak Phra around Samui

Rua Chak Phra around Samui

Yesterday we went around the island, as part of a visit to the local Immigration office and scattered around the island we encountered beautifully dressed up cars. My wife explained to me that this is part of the Rua Chak Phra or เรือชักพระ which is held each year. It's a typical Southern Thai celebration, especially famous is the Surat Thani event.

A very elaborate and colorful car in Bophud

All the Temples around Koh Samui participate and each year I tend to see some of the cars. The 12th October was the so called Ohk Pan Saa ออกพรรษา which indicates that a 3month period of Buddhist Rain retreat is finished when the monks are not allowed outside of their Temple grounds.

Man powered Rua Chak Phra in Nathon

The Rua Chak Phra was traditionally done with boats on rivers, hence the modern variations are all shaped in the form of boats. They are mostly motorized as well.

We encountered a beautiful sample of a Rua Chak Phra in Nathon, seemingly made out of teak wood and pulled by hand by local people.

The teak wooden Rua Chak Phra

All the vehicles will have the monks either sit inside or walk next to their 'Rua' and other people around the 'Rua' will asks for donations for their respective Temples, donating or giving money to a Temple is called 'Tambun' or ทำบุญ.

In the rear are more ropes to slow down the vehicle on down hill environments

The coming days you will be encountering plenty of these vehicles around Samui's roads. They may slow you down but keep in mind that it's part of a long standing tradition.

Rua Chak Phra along the road side, check the boat shape

This coming 20th October is the next 'Buddha' day (half moon) and I expect all Rua Chak Phra of the island will gather in Nathon that day. A great moment to visit Nathon and check out all this years Rua Chak Phra in full glory.

During the remainder of the year you may see the carcass of a Rua Chak Phra sitting somewhere in the corner of a Temple, waiting for the next October and it's moment of glory!

Camille

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