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MuayThai Annual Ceremony
on March 17
MuayThai Institute & Former MuayThai Fundation co-operated to held the "Nai KhanomTom Ceremony" on March 17 of every year, we started held this important annual ceremony since 2004.
Concept of WaiKru;
One of the most important traditions of MuayThai is
"Wai Kru" (Paying respect to your parents, maters, teachers and trainers) and the philosophy which it encapsulates. Wai Kru is an ancient custom which is closely bound to the fundamental Thai concept that provides of knowledge are all teachers -- and are worthly of utmost respect. In the pecking order, the "kru yai" or headmaster. Between teachers -- parents, educators, trainers or mentors -- and their students a special relationship is believe to exist, one which will endure and leave a lasting impression. Likewise, the bond bond between those who study under the same teacher is regarded as being parallel to kinship, so that such students refer to each other as "pee nong", brothers and sisters. When students seek knowledge from their teacher, they first offer symbols of respect: flowers, garlands, incense-sticks and candles. If these seem overly religious and more suited to temple offerings, then bear in mind that monks are also teachers while in their own turn being disciple of Buddha: just two more manifestations of the core teacher-student bond.
Informing the Spirits Ceremony (Buwong Suwong)
The enduring belief of the Thai people in the unseen, the spirits which inhabit all places and have to be kept happy or, if necessary, appeased when they are angry. There are visible signs of this redolent animism which coexists quite happily with the dominant Buddhism in the little spirit-houses which are to be found in the corners of many gardens and elsewhere. Looking like little pagodas elevated on a "bird-table", tiny offerings of food and drink will be presented to the occupants, who likewise are informed of any major happenings in the lives of the people in the "big house".
A much more sumptuous and elaborate version of this tradition is the Buwong Suwongceremony which must be held prior to the Annual Homage-Paying Ceremony and Initiation as a Teacher rituals. (In the case of the Intaition as a Trainee Fighter rites, which can be regarded as a personal contract between teacher and newly-accepted student, not involving the spirits of teachers past, it is an optional requirement.) The ceremony is performed by Brahmin priests who in form the spirits of what is about to take place ask their permission to proceed and also invite them to attend if they are so incilined.
A special banquet is laid on for the spirits, the menu varying according to a whole range of factors, including to the favorite dishes of the particular deity to whom a special is being made. A pig's head, chicken, desserts and fruit are typical offerings, along with candles, incense sticks, flowers and other gifts. The important factor is that, once it has been determined which form ofBuwong Suwong the ceremony is to take, there is no room for personal choice in the offerings provided : an excate list has to be followed with no omissions or deviations.
After waiting a suitably respectful time -- perhaps about an hour -- to enable the spirits to eat their fill, the human participants in the rites can partake of the feast, which, having been tasted by the spirits, is now full of lucky portents.
Now that the spirits have been made aware of what is to happen and their favor has been sought through the edible offerings, the main ceremony can proceed as planned. The precise details of all the ceremonies differ according to the traditions of MuayThai trining camp/teacher involved. Invariably, however, all the ceremonies are very powerful and moving, making, as intended, a permanent impression on the participants minds and helping to stiffen their resolve.
Annual Homage-Paying Ceremony
(Wai Kru Prajam Pee)
Teachers and students alike gather together to arrange the Annual Homage-Paying Ceremony, inviting as many past teachers as possible to attend. The ceremony involves many traditional Thai emblems of honor and respect and commences with all those assembled paying respect to the souls of teachers who have passed away. The ceremony then progresses to the students honoring all the teachers present, who mark sacred symbols on the fighters' foreheads with power in order to bestow prosperity and success upon them -- a custom know as jerm. The ceremony involves the performance of Ritual Dance of Homage by the fighters as a mark of respect to their teachers, while both teachers and students mark sacred vows.
Initiation as a Trainee Fighter (Kuen Kru, Yok Kru)
In the past, before a teacher accepted a new student, he first spent a great deal of time considering the proposition, trying to ascertain whether or not the person was really worthy of becoming his student. Some young fighters even intially had to act as servants to their prospective teachers until such time as the teachers were convinced of their suitability and good character. The process somethings took a year -- or even several years -- to reach a resolution.
When a teacher agrees to accept a new student, the initiation ceremony is held, usually on a Thursday, which is tradtionally regarded as Wan Kru (Teacher's day). As they make a formal request to be accepted, the students present the customary symbols of respect to their propspective teacher (Krueng sakkara buchaa kru). Unlike the set requirments for Buwong Suwong, there is some leeway for personal choice, although candles, incense sticks and flowers are invariably included. Another customary offering is a symbolic amount of money, like nine Baht, "nine" in Thai being "gao", a word which, with a different Thai spelling but identical pronunciation, also means "to step forward or advance", giving it a hidden propitious significance.
Students pledge in front of the teacher that they will be diligent and hard working, and that they will respect and obey the teacher, following his rulings to the letter. The teacher, for his part, officially accepts the students and promises to instruct them to the utmost of his abilities.