The “ Liang Dong” , the Chiang Mai Giant guardian’s party.
Chiang Mai is the one of the ancient area which has a long history and full of legend and cultures.
In the old days, it known as the Lanna Kingdom which was one of the great capital in the northern area of the Siam.
Long time ago, we believe , there’re human , giants and other creatures in our world. Giants are also one of the kind. There’re both good and bad. However we knew that giants love eating fresh meat for their living. In Chiang Mai, there a story of the giant family of 3 who lived in the forest of the west side of Doi Suthep Mountain. Those who always hunted and scared people. The story was heard by the Lord Buddha. He had come and visit to the area . When the family of the giant had heard that there would be the human ( Lord Buddha). There were so happy to have meat and ate him as their food. After trying to harm the Lord Buddha, but no succeeded and surrendered to the Great Lord Buddha. The Lord Buddha had taught them killing is not good thing to do and tried to stop them from killing and harm the human and animals. They had learned from the Lord Buddha, but still begged for meat at least 2 human each year to fill their stomach instead of vegetable and other kind of food. They also promised the Great Lord Buddha to practices and meditate. The giant’s son agreed to follow the Lord Buddha teaching and would meditate and practice without eating meat. He left his giant family to spend his time and practice at Doi Suthep hill. We know him as “ Wa Su Thep Ruesi” ( Wa Suthap, the hermit) who lived up the Doi Suthep hill until the temple of Doi Suthep built and contained the Lord Buddha relic. Wa Suthap Hermit was disappear and no one found him since then.
Regarding for the giant couples who were the parents of Wa Suthep Hermit, as they are old and could stop their behavior of eating fresh meat, but they want to keep their word to the Lord Buddha. They begged for fresh meat and kill 2 human to sacrifice once a year, the Lord Buddha told them to ask for the ruler if he was agreed to of deal with them. The ruler didn’t agree to sacrifice 2 human very year. However he would offer the giants couples, one big black buffalo instead with fresh meat, blood and offal. They both agreed. Since then the giaints couples had well behave and practice the Lord Buddha teaching and protecting the forest areas in Chiang Mai. Human and giants live happily ever after.
From this story which had passed from generation to generation, people in Chiang Mai still practice and worship to these giant guardians with highly respect. Even though the Great Lord Buddha had nirvana for long time. This tradition has still practiced and pass to the new generation in the local as well.
The Liang Dong takes place after the big cerebration of the City Pillar in Chiang Mai city every year on the south west side of Chiang Mai city call “ Doi Kham” where it is the home of the 2 giant guardians. Local people are going to prefer to area with small bamboo with leaves as the sprit house for them to lay the fresh meat and all food using in the sacrifice ceremony. The person who is as the representative of the guardian would appear in front of the is painting of the Lord Buddha ( Phra Bodh). The painting comes in the big piece with 1.8 meters wide and 3.4 meters long hang above with the long wood both on the top and below. Whenever the spirit of the giants guardian go in the body of the medium. The man became as the elderly even he is only 40s. The giant guardian ( the medium) is going to bow to the panting which starts to move and blow as it in the wind however there is no strong windy at all. The painting would blow until the ceremony finish which is amazed by the people who attend in the ceremony.
The giants Guardian ( The medium) himself, after showing the highly respect to the Grate Lord Buddha. He is going to his offering, buffalo meat which lie on the mat and starts to eat and dance along with joy. With this sacrifice ceremony, locals believe that the peaceful and fertile would be in Chiang Mai.
Visitor could also attend the ceremony as it is open for the public as well. However with respect. Not for fun. Tradition, culture and ceremony in each area is interesting to learn. Local still welcome with warm hearted.