Thursday, January 9, 2014

Khuan Ban Mai ขึ้นบ้านใหม่ A Housewarming

As a finalist for "The King's Award", the importance of completing our brand, spanking, new EP building took on a whole new level of intensity.  When I arrived in October, the building was simply scaffolding.  A little over two months later, we are ready to move in….  well, we may not be exactly ready, but move we will!  The panel of judges
was originally coming January 13th to review our status,
that's been pushed back to the 21st.


Two days ago….


7 AM this morning.


The monks waiting for all guests to arrive.




A "housewarming" is a very auspicious event for Thai people.  It encourages good fortune and prosperity.
It is important to choose the right date for this occasion as some numbers are unlucky.  Today is January 9, and 9 is one of the luckiest numbers.  There are also 9 monks.



The monks pass a ball of string to their left and lace it through their hands.  The "sai seen" is to tie all of the "magic" from the monks together to bring to the new home.



The sai seen is also tied around the Buddha image that will be kept in the house. 



The monks begin chanting "magic words", that apparently nobody knows what they mean.
The chanting goes on for quite a while.





Then, those in attendance begin bringing their gifts of merit to fill the monks' baskets.



As you can see, the baskets get filled to overflowing in no time.







Students helped by filling very large plastic bags with the food items so that people could continue to fill the monk's baskets.



The leader of the monks takes a slender candle, lights it, and allows "a tear from the candle" to drip into a bowl of holy water.  It is believed that this washes away disease, sorrow, and evil.






After the prayers, the monk blesses the people by dipping a lotus into the bowl and sprinkling the water on their heads.






A hot meal is assembled on a tray for each monk and presented to them.




When the monks have been fed and the blessings completed, the guests are treated to a huge banquet.  There was plenty of food to feed the entire staff, invited guests, neighbors, and students.




This is an absolutely delicious green curry soup.





I like sticky rice, but really, I'm just obsessed
with the basket it is served in!





I was very hesitant and even passed by this until Elias told me it was Bua Loi, a Thai dessert soup.  It has taro, coconut meat and lotus seed in a coconut cream base.  Very delicious, but only in small quantity.

       

Needless to say, classes for the rest of the day were a bit casual.
And, I just couldn't finish a blog without a few pictures of my beautiful students!









        

Still loving life in Thailand
(but I just found out a friend was hired at a school in Quito…..)



And…
Happy Birthday to my future daughter-in-law!
We love you, Christina!