Thai New Year in Son La

9:26:40 AM | 2/16/2015

The biggest market day of the year of the Thai people is the 25th day of the last month of the lunar year. People go to the fair to buy things for the New Year Festival and relax after a year of hard work. The market is more boisterous than other gatherings in the year as people bring their products to sell, both what they make and what they get from nature.
Before the final day of the lunar year, the Thai people usually make two types of chung cake, black and white. To make black chung cake, they burn rice straw and take the ash to mix with rice and bray them together. Then, they sieve off ash. Many people do not use stuffing because they think that the taste of chung cake mainly comes from phrynium leaves. They boil the chung cake and pork on the last day of lunar year. In the evening, they host New Year’s Eve Party with friends and relatives. They drink through the night. After the New Year worship, they beat gongs to welcome the New Year.
The Thai people get up very early on the first day of the New Year. They share with each other water for boiling chung cakes. Then, women bring sticky rice on a tray to the middle of the house to worship the house ghost. Then they prepare the meal on two or three trays. The one is placed in an upper position is to worship the ancestors of the husband’s family and the lower one is to worship the ancestors of the wife’s family. After the offering rite, women will eat first in the family - the unique occurrence to them in the year. Fish is a must dish in Thai New Year meals. The Thai people do not sweep the floor during the first day of the year.
Young people go out in the afternoon. They may leave their houses for days.
The white Thai people in Quynh Nhai, Son La province wash their hair on the last day of the year. All villagers, regardless of gender or age, go to the river to wash their hair. Hair-washing rite is the most important rite in the year as they believe that this helps get rid of hard work, illness and bad luck of the old year and the river will take them away. They pray for health, luck and prosperity in the New Year. After the rite, they join folk activities like ball throwing and skirt dancing. Men prepare the altar and worship the ancestors.
The Thai people host a soul evocation ritual on the last day or next to the last day of the year. Two boiled chickens are used for the ceremony, one for their ancestors and one for soul evocation for family members.
When guests visit, the hosts go to the staircase to welcome them and lead them to the centre chamber of the house. They spread mattress to welcome the guests, and exchange best wishes and nice words. Other members strike the barristers to make sounds, usually 15 minutes long, to greet the visitors. The sounds only stop when the hosts bring out the feast to treat the guests. After the meal, girls in colourful clothes dance. Finally, homeowners lead the visitors to the staircase to say farewell.
During Tet, the Thai people behave kindly to each other and never use bad words.
Thanh Nga