Prolongation Ritual : Rite of Passage in Lanna Society

Cherdchart Hirunro




This article aims to study the prolongation rituals or seubchata [สืบชะตา] in Lanna culture and analyze the traditional Lanna rites of the human life prolongation ritual, the village prolongation ritual, the city prolongation ritual and the modern, river prolongation rites of the Salween River, Mae Hong Son Province and the Chan River, Chiangrai Province. These rites were analyzed using the concepts of “Rite of Passage” by Arnold van Gennep and Victor Turner. The research found that the numerous prolongation rituals in Lanna society clearly depict all aspects of the rite of passage as follows: 1) the prolongation rituals carry both actions and reactions to a person’s and community’s change; 2) the prolongation rituals are between religious and non-religious issues; 3) the prolongation rituals are a tradition that enables a person to undergo changes; 4) the prolongation rituals are performed when there is a change from current status to another; and 5) the prolongation rituals are regulated and organized by rules, traditions and norms in the society. Furthermore, the prolongation ritual is very meaningful and profoundly significant to Lanna society, especially during and after a critical period, by allowing the community to escape from chaotic and insecure conditions, and return to normality.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 6/2013, Page 25-39)


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