The ” Pee Mai Muang” in my memory.
Once I had written about ” The Songkran Festival” ( The Thai New Year Day) in our blog. Today I would love to tell you the old story.. of course my memory of “The Pee Mai Muang” ( The Songkran Festival) again since I’m missing the aura and the atmosphere of the local life when I was young and live in the outskirt of Chiang Mai.
We are the small family of 4 ( Parents and 2 kids) ,lived in the big fruit orchard which belong to my grand parents. 19 years there, there are many things and memories for me to remember. According to the Thai New Year 2017 ( 13-15 April) , it remind me the atmosphere when I was a child and still naughty. I do remember that in the Pee Mai Muang time, dad would work until the 12th April and he would have a holiday from 13th -15th April if we lucky after the holiday was Saturday and Sunday , dad would have more time and took us out which we love so much to travel. 2-3 days before the Pee Mai Muang, mom was very busy with work and also busy shopping for things as well. Mom love to take us along to the market ( Warroroj Market , the biggest day market in Chiang Mai , near the Ping River) for buying food , stuff as well as the Pee Mai Muang gifts ( Presents for elderly for the ” Rod Nam Dam Hua Tradition which I would mention later on). Because we were 40 kilometers away from Chiang Mai city area and dad left home for work very early in the morning. We had to do all house work and then we could go for shopping. Mom usually caught the “Si – Lor” ( The local transportation as a pick up truck and the cap which we had once mentioned in the in the means of local transportation in out blog on 30th Jan,16). As we were kids , the driver would let us sit in the middle row ( In the pass, there we 3 rows for the passengers to sit behind the truck.) which we didn’t like it because we had to sit separately from mom when there were many people got in the truck we were pushed deep inside which so difficult to get off after we reached the destination. It was something when we think of it, it was fun as well to talk about it. When was young I remember that all men would offer the seat to the ladies , children and the elderly while they had to hung behind the truck or even moved on the roof top which is not allow for present. Today it’s quite difficult to find the gentle man which going to offer the seat. Some of them pretend to sleep and don’t see. Well that is life and it changes now. However we could see some gentlemen in the social still.
Well back to my memory of the Pee Mai Muang, after the shopping day , it is the time to clean our house to welcome the Pee Mai Muang which would come in a few days. It’s time to reunion for the family as well which I love it. Every families in our village did the same things to prepare for new year.
13th April : The Maha Songkran Day ( Songkran Day – Northern Thai New Year Day)
On 13th April every years, in the early morning could be from 4am /5am , we would hear the sound of the Chinese crackers and smell for the smoke from the leaves and old stick from the trees which was cut and cleaned 2 days before as the way we believe the send away bad things and bad luck with ” Poo Sangkan and Ya Sangkan” ( The spirit who take way bad things and bad luck from us during the Pee Mai Muang. Me and my younger brother love this so much because of the noise of the Chinese crackers. We would hear the sound from one house to the others until 5am. Early morning part activity of sending Poo Sangkan and Ya Sangkan finished and we had prepare ourselves to get to Chiang Mai city for” the Pee Mai Muang Parade”.
The Pee Mai Muang Parade is the parade of the Buddha Sihing ( Pra Singha) , the most sacred Buddha image in Chiang Mai which we believe it could bring us the rain due to the heat in the summer time. ( This I would tell you in the next story). Along in the parade with the Buddha images from many temples in Chiang Mai for the local to splash the holy scented water for good luck. In the parade , there’re many dancers and people in the colorful outfit that join in the parade to celebrate the Pee Mai Maung. This’s the funniest day for us as kids , we had fun with worshiping the Buddha images and got wet in the parade. Everyone smile to each other and had fun time in the hot day. After the parade, people usually gathered along the Ping riverbank or mainly in the old town where the old city moat located and splashed water to each other and burst out with laughter. I call that the water war ( Hahaha). This water splashing for 2-3 days until the 15th April or even 16th April.
14th April : The preparing day / Wan Noa in the northern language
14th April is the preparing day. Not only for the offering things to the temples , but also ourselves for the good thoght with the purity heart. This day , my parents always told us to be nice to each others , think only good things and well behave. Then we ‘re ready for the good starts for the Pee Mai Muang. We ‘re going to prepare food and sweet for the offering in the biggest day of the new year ( on 15th April which i’m going to tell you soon). The local food such as Kang Hung-Lae ( Pork curry with spices) , Nam Prik Ong ( Spicy Tomatoes Dipping Sauce ), Nam Prik Noom ( Green Chilly Dipping Sauce) , Kab Moo ( Fried Pork Skin) , Sticky rice and of course the Khanom Jok ( The local dessert made from sticky rice , inside with the sweeten coconut yam and wrapped with the the banana leave and steamed . It would come in the small pyramid shape…well let me tell you in the next story. Please wait 🙂 )
This day as I had told you earlier , it’s the day that we had to clean our mind and wish a good things for ourselves and others. My parents always told us if we said bad things , we ere going to have a bad mouth. ( That ‘s the trick that they taught us to talk nice and be polite to others which we kept doing very well.) Think of good things and wish others to be happy.
This day’s also the day we prepare cutting the ” Toong /Tung”, the northern Thai Flag. There comes in many shape and forms. ( Nice cutting in beautiful layers or printing). Our family preferred making the flag ( Toong) in the shape of the Dhava and Angel. Mom and Dad always told us about heaven and hell to keep us as a good people. They told us that this’s a good and perfect of the occasion for us to send the Dhava or the Angels to help our ancestors or some other spirits who suffering in the hell to go up to the higher level or even the heaven if they were good. This’s one way to safe them and for us to making merit which I do remember and still follow mt family tradition until now. ( You could find the pictures of the Dhava and Angels Toong in our Facebook page : Chiang Mai Tour Center). You could also create one by your own as well. It’s not about art , but it connect to the ritual as well. On the 14th April, we could also prepare the sand for the offering back to the temple as well. In the old days , the temples’ ground were only dirt and sand. When people wen to the temples, we usually walked and stepped on the dirt and sand out from the temples. This’s the way we could return the sand back to the temples .So they could use them for all constructions in buildings and others as they need. However just the pile of sand , it wouldn’t look nice for the temples. People try making the pile of sand into the sand pagodas and also use the Toong ( Long Flag) for decorated in the same time.
15th April : The Wan Phaya Wan Day ( The Biggest starter Pee Mai Muang , The starter of the Thai New Year Day)
In the morning people would gather at the temples for making merit. Food and offering stuffs which prepared from last night would be offered to the monks in the temples. The old chairman would lead the people to pray and follow step by step in the main hall for the Buddhist ceremony. The monks would accept the food and offerings from people and give us the blessing. This would be done before the people start to pull the sand they bring onto the sand pagodas and push the Toong on it. This would be a great start of the Pee Mai Maung which we kept following and practicing many years and we wish to pass this kind of graceful tradition and ceremony to the young generation. We wish that it wouldn’ t disappear from us.
16th April – 30th April : ” Rod Nam Dam Hua ” The repecting time for the elderly.
After the 15th April of every year, it is the new year for the Northern Thai people. We would prefer for the stuffs which we had prepared for. Mostly “Pha Tong” ( The common word used to call “The Pha Khao Ma” = The cotton cloth checked in colorful design use as the towel , turban , shorts or even belt!) , “Pha Sin” ( The local word for the Sarong mostly wear by the ladies in colorful design.) , “The Suea Kom” , the local cotton bra with the small pocket to keep the money in. Mainly the old ladies love them to avoid losing the things , they would keep in the pocket. The Pee Mia Muang present that offer to the elderly could be something else : Food , Snack and other. However the must that we bring together with the present would be the Khoa Tok ( Rice Popcorn) , Paper candles , Scented water and flowers (Mostly use the jasmine due to the scent of the jasmine is nice and the good meaning of purity mind.).
Family would gather and reunion. Get blessing from the grandparents , parents and relative. This makes the family get closer to each other after move away for work in different area. We usually call ” The family reunion time”. These would happen till the end of April. Not only the family reunion, the school would have the same traditional for all students who had graduated from school for long time to show respect the elderly and retired teachers as well. This is how the Thai showing the gratitude which it still pass from generation to the generation to keep our graceful traditional to stay forever with us all.
My family would visit grandma, she is 93 years old now. We get the blessing for her and what I love is everyone smile ti each other. Family reunion so that it the best time.
Actually, there are more memory and things in my head which I prefer to tell you. However this content might be already to long and also I don’t want to make you tired of reading this. I could write for more for the next time. Hope you would enjoy reading my content.
Happy Songkran Day 2017!!! Sok San Wan Song Kran! Sawaddee Pee Mai Muang Jao!
Chiang Mai Tour Center