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Crystal Sons (Luk Kaew)

Cristal Son (Luk Kaew) in Chiang MaiMany Shan people live in northern Thailand. Part of the Shan ordination ritual involves making up young boys who are to ordain and dressing them up in bright costumes. Called "crystal sons (luk kaew)", these boys are put on ponies or carried on shoulders and paraded to the temple where the ordination is to take place. Prior to ordination they are spoiled with little treats as if they were in heaven. Accordingly their feet should not touch the ground.

The northern Thai ordination is less elaborate but no less important. Sons should ordain to make merit for their parents. Tradition holds that by doing so the gates of hell close for the mother and will close for the father when he becomes a monk.

In recent years Wat Pa Pao has revived the custom of having a Shan-style ordination. The festival, known as poi san long, lasts two days and takes place in April before the 10th of the month.

During the festival the grounds of Wat Pa Pao have a carnival atmosphere.


Crystal Son Parade in Chiang Mai Cristal Son on a Parade in Chiang Mai Cristal Son Riding a Dancing Pony in Chiang Mai




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