Friday, January 15, 2010

The Baci ceremony

The Baci ceremony is one of the most important, unique and most regularly held ceremonies in Laos and Thailand’s northeastern Isaan provinces.

The Baci celebration is always sincere, and anyone is welcome to join. During the ceremony a goood health and long life is wished to all its participants.

The Baci ceremony is also known by Laotians and Thais as “Soukhouan” which means the calling and receiving of the soul. People in Laos and Isaan believe that the body has 32 parts and each part comes with its own wandering soul. While the ceremony is held, the absent souls are asked to return to their physical bodies.
This is part of the ceremony is usually performed by an elderly man also known as a “Thit” or “Chane” a former monk.

On the day of Soukkhouan the participating people take a tray called a “Phakouan” with them. The tray is made of banana leafs filled with flowers, the “champa” or frangipani flower, which is the national flower of Laos.

Other things which are used during the Baci ceremony are: alcohol; eggs; rice cakes; money; candles and cotton thread.

When all the guests have arrived the ceremony will begin with the lighting of the candle on the top of the tray and some incense sticks after which the “Thit” communicates with the divinities. Then cotton thread is nodded around the participants’ wrists, like thin white bracelets.

During a wedding Baci ceremony also money is tied on the wrist of the married couple…

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