Thai Northeasterner Song(can be called as 'Esan People Song')
Right of this page is Song of Thai Northeasterner (Khon Esan) "The merit ceremonies (Ngan Boon) of Thai northeasterner (can be called as 'Esan people') originated from old customs or traditions which continually taught until now, are called as "Heed Sib-song Klong Sib-si." The words "Heed Sib-song" can be understood as the twelve-month traditions as follows: (Parichat Ruangviset 2539:189-197).
1. December (Duan Aai or Jeing) is Boon Khow Kram
2. January (Duan Yi) is Boon Koon Lan
3. February (Duan Sam) is Boon Khow Ji
4. March (Duan Si) is Boon Pa Ved (the tenth Bodhisattra)
5. April (Duan Ha) is Boon Song Khran
6. May (Duan Hok) is Boon Bung Fai
7. June (Duan Jed) is Boon Sam Hah
8. July (Duan Pad) is Boon Khow Phan Sa
9. August (Duan Kow) is Boon Koaw Pradub Din
10. September (Duan Sib) is Boon Koaw Sak or Salakkapat
11. October (Duan Sib Ed) is Boon Oak Phan Sa
12. November (Duan Sib Song) is Boon Kra Tin.
Pee Ta Khon is one of the Esan traditional plays. Each player must wear scary mask and make-up to look like ghost. Not for invoking evil spirit but for amusing among the crowd. In former years, Esan people usually played it for favor during the Boon Bung Fai and Boon Pa Ved ceremonies. The origin of Pee Ta Khon parade is based on the belief in old time story of the last great incarnation of the Budda, Mahavejsandon. While his parents, the King and the Queen of those days, had welcomed him and his family back after banishment. The caravan paraded them back to the city was full of savages and ghosts who used to serve and respect him highly, joined for farewell.
Nowadays, Pee Ta Khon Festival begins from Ngan Boon Luang at the Phon Chai Temple, Dahn Sai District, Loei Province. This merit ceremony lasts three days. The programs are as follows:
First day: It is called as "Wan Ruam" or "Wan Home" which means an assembly day. Their ritual stats in the early morning, including inviting the Spirits of God known as Phra U-pakut from the Mun River to stay in their directions around rite area. They believe that will protect from harms and make things fine all along the ceremony. This section also has a small group of Pee Ta Khon parade too.
Later in the morning, they parade to the black magician house called Ban Chow Guan in order to do the following step, Bai Sri Soo Kwan--the ritual of bringing back ones spirit. There will be more of Pee Ta Khon during this ritual. As they finish, everyone involving in the ritual, namely, Chow Guan (the black magician who takes care of Ghost called Pee Hor Luang), Nang Tieam, Kana San, Nang Tang (the black magician's helpers), Groups of Pee Ta Khon, Esan dancing group, and other Esan plays. There are some of traditional plays that related their life styles such as Tung Bung (Savage club play), Kwai Too (Handcart play), Tod Hae (Cast nest play). The big parade moves forwards to Phon Chai Temple and revolves round the church. By the time a gathering of Pee Ta Khon is increasing more and more, they will run around to tease all over the village.
Second day: After groups of Pee Ta Khon gather in the early morning, they will dance and tease for fun with the crowd along their ways. The show continues until the time of parade welcoming Mahavejsandon and his family back in the afternoon (called as "Hae Phra"). The parade begins with San Dahn, carrying cooked rice topped with a boiled egg, used as offering (Bai Sri). Follows the image of Buddha caravan, which is a symbolic of Mahavejsandon. Then there comes 4 monks and caravan of Kana San, Nang Tang, Groups of Pee Ta Khon, and Esan play group. And Bung Fai caravan comes at last. Chow Guan is invited to sit on it as caravan leader. After the whole parade reaches Phon Chai Temple, Bung Fai (bamboo rockets) will be fired for the belief of rain bagging. They are trying to raise the hope for fertility and season of rainy. Chow Guan also gives out a charity during that time.
Third day: The day of virtue and following religious precepts. Buddhists attend a grand sermon and no longer play Pee Ta Khon anymore.
There is two size of Pee Ta Khon appearing in the parade, the bigger called Pee Ta Khon Yai and the smaller called Pee Ta Khon Lek.
Parichat Ruangviset, Heed Sib-song Klong Sib-si of Loei people, Loei, Bangkok: feature, 2547.
Translator : Pitiradee Usanno
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