Body piercing is not just a fashion but has deeper religious roots.
Testing their faith by Karnjana Karnjanatawe
This is a procession held last Saturday in the Phangnga district of Takua Pa. As part of self-mortification rituals associated with an ancient Chinese spiritual belief, the lead devotee has had his cheeks pierced with a skewer. He is in a self-induced trance so is not feeling pain and probably won't suffer scarring or any other lasting ill-effects from his ordeal.
The two costumed men following him are carrying flails which are used for self-flagellation.
Performed in the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar and coinciding with the annual, nationwide 10-day Vegetarian Festival, this sacred rite is believed to bless the community with good fortune over the coming year.
The smaller photo shows a palanquin used for carrying the statue of a Chinese deity. As it is borne along the street, the quartet of bearers swaying from side to side following their own internal rhythm, local people throw firecrackers to propitiate the god, creating a terrible din and wreathing the whole area in a pall of white smoke.
Although not as well known as the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, which every year seems to attract more and more young men eager to pierce their bodies with a variety of weird and gruesome objects, the Takua Pa event seems more exotic, somehow, and more faithful to its Chinese roots. The setting off of fireworks continues for several hours until the actual street procession ends.
(Source: Faces & PLACES, Testing their faith, 21/10/2010, Karnjana Karnjanatawe, link)
body piercing - piercing the skin of the body to create an opening or hole in which some object such as jewelry can be placed (See Wikipedia)
pierce - make a hole in something using a sharp point แทง, ทิ่ม, ปัก, เสียบ, เจาะ
procession - a line of people or vehicles moving in a slow and formal way as part of an event ขบวนรถ
self-mortification - punishing yourself to atone for something you did wrong, literally: "putting the flesh to death" (See Wikipedia)
atone - showing that you are sorry for something that you did wrong ไถ่โทษ, ชดเชย, ชดใช้เรื่อง, ไถ่บาปเรื่อง
ritual - a formal religious event with special actions and words, ceremony พิธีกรรม
ancient - very old ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ
devotee - a person who follows a certain religion, religious leader or worships a certain god
cheeks - the soft parts of your face below your eye and between your mouth and ear แก้ม
skewer - ไม้เสียบ
induce - cause some mental or physical change in a person (example: induce a hypnotic state in the patient)
trance - a state in which a person can move and speak but is not conscious in the normal way, hypnotic state
self-induced trance - when a person puts themselves into a trance
suffer - to experience physical or mental pain
scar (noun) - a mark on the skin from an injury that is permanent แผลเป็น
scarring - the process of scars forming on the body
lasting - continuing to exist or have an effect for a long time ที่กินเวลานาน
ill-effects - bad effects
ordeal - an extremely unpleasant experience, especially one that lasts for a long time ประสบการณ์ที่แสนสาหัส
flail (verb) - to hit many times with a stick or some other thing
flails - a special thing or instrument for hitting yourself with
flagellate - whipping, hitting with a whip เฆี่ยนตี (เพื่อจุดประสงค์ทางเพศหรือศาสนา)
self-flagellation - whipping yourself as a form of religious punishment to atone for something you did wrong
lunar - of or relating to the moon เกี่ยวกับพระจันทร์
calendar - a printed table showing all the days, weeks and months of the year ปฏิทิน
lunar calendar - a calendar based on the cycles and appearance of the moon, the modern calendar used worldwide is based on cycles of the sun (See Wikipedia)
coinciding with - at the same time as
annual - happening once a year ประจำปี
nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
sacred - considered to be holy ศักดิ์สิทธิ์
rite - a traditional ceremony, especially a religious one พิธีกรรม (พระราชพิธี)
community - the people living in one particular area ชุมชน
fortune - luck โชค
palanquin - a small box used in the old days before cars to carry important people from place to place (mainly in China) เกี้ยว
deity - god พระเจ้า, เทพเจ้า, เทพ, เทพธิดา
borne - carried ถือ หรือนำไป (อัญเชิญ ประดิษฐาน)
bearers - people caryying something (example: the casket bearers carried the deceased man to the cemetery)
sway - swing or move back and forth แกว่งไปมา
internal - existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
rhythm - a regular repeated series of sounds or movements ท่วงทำนอง
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
firecrackers - small objects that explode and make loud sound when you light them on fire ประทัดไฟ
propitiate - to stop someone or something (like a god) from being angry by doing something to make them happy (same as: appease, atone) ทำให้พอใจ, เอาใจ
creating a terrible din - creating a very loud noise
wreathing - covering all over
pall - a dark covering of smoke, dust or clouds
attract - to cause someone to be interested in something ดึงดูดความสนใจ
eager - wanting to do or get something very much, enthusiastic about something that will happen กระตือรือร้น
variety - many different types of things or people ความหลากหลาย
weird - very strange แปลกประหลาด
gruesome - involving or describing death or injury in a very unpleasant way น่ากลัว น่ารังเกียจ
exotic - interesting and exciting because it is unusual and different สิ่งผิดธรรมดา
faithful to - stays, follows or matches closely what was done in the past (does not go far away from)
roots - origins, where something comes from
set off - 1. to make something explode, 2. to make something happen by accident
actual - real; existing in fact จริง
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