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Monday, 12 October 2015

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

This morning saw Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015. It was the second version of this year's event, or the 'sending back' part. Two weeks ago the deceased were welcomed, but we didn't attend this event but today we could be there.

Before the event starts we visit the main Bot and we put flowers and light candles for the deceased at their plaques, in our case at my father and my mother in law's plaques.

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

Plenty of food is lined up outside the temple building, the small flags stuck inside the food are messages to the deceased

This event is about welcoming the deceased (usually of your family) back for two weeks and after two weeks they are send back again, until they are invited back again, in roughly a years time.

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

Food inside the temple, reserved for the monks that lead the ceremony

The actual ceremony lasts for about two and a half hours, it starts around 7am and includes many chants and prayers by the monks. After this is over, the various families all look each up and each family eats together and shares the home cooked food.

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

A view inside the new ceremony hall

This was the first event for me during which the new ceremony hall was being used. It's nice and big but today not big enough to host everybody that attended. We sat outside the new ceremony building around a table, under a tent roof and waited for the ceremony to finish, being able to follow everything through loudspeakers.

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

Tambun or making merit in the new ceremony hall

It's always good to see the extended family and eat together. It seems like I was the only Westerner today at the ceremony, but after 16 years most local people get used to me and nobody looks up anymore when they see me around.

Thaa Yai at Wat Plai Laem 2015

Family members say 'Goodbye for this year' to the deceased, see you again next year

At the end of the whole ceremony, each family seeks out a corner or place inside the temple grounds and food is being brought over and distributed on the ground. This food is mainly fruits and sweets (special sweets made for the Thaa Yai occasion) and when it's finished being distributed on the ground (the ground being covered by papers to keep the food clean), each family member makes contact with the person next to him or her or in front of him/her, so a chain is made and a prayer is said. 
After this everybody collects his food containers and other utensils all is brought to the temple, plates, cutlery, water, cups etc) and we go our separate ways again.

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Camille

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