New Year “Countdown” Chanting Ceremony in Contemporary Thai Society : An Analysis of an Invented Tradition

Prasert Runra




This study investigates the New Year countdown chanting ceremony at Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram. Findings show that the ceremony reflects an invented tradition of reproduction of a ceremony in Thai society. That is, the traditional chanting in the auspicious occasion of the new year has been transformed to the Nopphakhro chanting – chanting for prosperity and longevity in life. This Nopphakhro chanting ceremony has not been conducted according to the tradition. In the past, this chanting ceremony was held on the special occasion for an individual person. However, this reinvented Nopphakhro chanting is now open to the general public. This reinvented New Year chanting ceremony also uses symbolic objects to represent the Nopphakhro, symbolic actions to represent reverence of the people for the Nopphakhro deities, and symbolic space to represent the universe, which is a hypothetical habitat of the Nopphakhro deities. In addition, the New Year chanting ceremony that integrates the Nopphakhro chanting plays a role in boosting the morale of Thais in the context of capitalism and materialism in modern Thai society.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 9/2016, Page 123-149)


Full Text : Download