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"Warming" Lanna tradition

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Get started with a very interesting story of an ancient Lanna cold-season tradition that is being kept alive in the North. 

Nestled in a remote valley behind Doi Inthanon, Mae Chaem is an agrarian community whose staple is rice. PEERAWAT JARIYASOMBAT

Here is the beginning of a very interesting story about a cold season tradition in the North that has almost died out. You can read the full story and see more photos here: http://bit.ly/eDN05a

Click button to listen to Mae Chaem and rightclick to download

Lanna tradition is alive

Peerawat Jariyasombat

Monks and novices line up in front of the ordination hall for Tan Lua Phra Chao ceremony. PEERAWAT JARIYASOMBAT

It was 4 o'clock in the morning, still pitch dark, when I set out on my motorcycle, still not fully awake, on the way to a local temple just a kilometre away. The road was quiet and an eerie calm settled over me. I wanted to go faster, but the trembling in my hands wouldn't let me, as if in protest at the biting cold that I could feel down to my bones.

Arriving at the temple, I saw monks and novices already chanting prayers in the ubosoth, or the ordination hall, and was a bit surprised  to see them wrap themselves up in colourful blankets, some bearing comic prints. It may not seem appropriate for them to dress in that manner, but the night was pretty cold and like me they were shivering.

The prayers said, they lit candles affixed to wooden sticks about two metres long and walked to a pile of firewood assembled in front of the temple and put the torch to it.

Within minutes the pile was smouldering, flames soon rising as high as the sugar palm tree next to it, lighting up the night and driving away the cold. Heat radiating from the fire was a great relief to everyone present, the warmth carrying to the principal Buddha statue in the ubosoth and the monks and novices who soon emerged from their blankets.

"It is pretty cold today," said a villager, watching the flames leap skyward. I too was feeling much better.

Tan Lua Phra Chao is an ancient Lanna ceremony held before dawn of the full moon day of the 4th lunar month, which is usually in January when the temperature drops. Many temples in Mae Chaem hold this ceremony, noticeable from the bonfires they set off.

Mae Chaem is 100 kilometres southwest of Chiang Mai, behind Doi Inthanon – the country's highest mountain – cold in winter but pleasant at other times of the year, which probably explains why this Lanna tradition is still alive here just as it has virtually disappeared from other parts of northern Thailand.

nestled – in a protected or comfortable position อยู่อย่างเบียดกัน, แนบชิด
remote – far away from other cities, towns, or people ที่ห่างไกล
agrarian – relating to or involving farming or farmers เกี่ยวกับไร่นาและที่ดิน, เกี่ยวกับชาวนา, ชนบท
community – the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
staple – an important product, especially a food, that people eat or use regularly อาหารหลัก, สินค้าหลัก
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
pitch dark – completely dark มืด
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
eerie – strange and mysterious, and sometimes frightening น่าขนลุก
calm – peaceful and quiet สงบ
settle – to gradually move into position
tremble – to shake กระเทือน, สั่น, สั่นสะเทือน
novice – someone who has entered a religious community but is not yet a full member สามเณร
chant – to sing a piece of religious music using a very limited range of notes ร้องเพลงสวด
ordination – officially making someone a monk or priest in a religious ceremony การบวช อุปสมบท
ordination hall – a room in a temple where ordinations take place พระอุโบสถ โบสถ์
blanket – a thick cover made of wool or another material that you use to keep warm in bed  ผ้าห่ม
bearing – having writing or a design on top แสดง
print – a piece of clothing or cloth with a pattern printed on it ผ้าพิมพ์
appropriate – suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose  ที่เหมาะสม
manner – way วิธีการ
pretty – rather ค่อนข้าง
shivering – shaking slightly because you are cold or frightened  เนื้อตัวสั่นเทาด้วยความหนาวเย็นหรือความกลัว
affix – to fasten something to something else  ผูก,  ติด, ประทับ
pile – objects positioned one on top of another กอง
assemble – to make something by joining separate parts ประกอบ
put the torch to – to set something on fire จุดไฟ
smouldering – burning slowly, producing smoke but not flames
flame – the brightly burning gas that you see coming from a fire เปลวไฟ, เปลวเพลิง
radiate – to produce energy in the form of electromagnetic waves, such as heat, light, or radio waves  ปล่อยพลังงาน
relief – a feeling of happiness that something unpleasant has not happened or has ended การผ่อนคลาย
principal – main or most important สำคัญ เป็นหลัก
statue – an image that are made of stone, wood, metal, etc. รูปปั้น
emerge – to come out of ออกจาก
leap – to make a large jump or sudden movement กระโดด
ancient – very old ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ
ceremony – a formal public event งานพิธี
dawn – the beginning of the day, when it begins to get light รุ่งอรุณ, เช้าตรู่
lunar – of or relating to the moon เกี่ยวกับพระจันทร์
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ
bonfire – a large fire built outside กองไฟ, กองไฟที่จุดขึ้นกลางแจ้ง
pleasant – enjoyable or attractive in a way that makes you feel pleased and satisfied สบาย, สบายใจ,พอใจ,ให้ความพอใจ,ถูกใจ
virtually - almost เกือบจะ
disappear – to no longer exist; to no longer be in use หายไป, สาบสูญ, สูญหาย

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