I used to be cynical and bitter. (Even more cynical and bitter than now!) Asian holidays and festivals have taught me a lot about embracing the inner child. Just being happy for pretty much nothing. The colours, music, food, parades, dancing, fun. I love how each and every holiday is celebrated with friends and community, not locked up between four walls. I love how they jump at every possible opportunity to make a day special, different. I even love that they take holidays from other cultures too, and twist them around, using them for decorations and yet another excuse to give presents and have a party. I love how welcoming they always are, inviting people to join, dance, sing, go round with a candle (or throw firecrackers and water or whatever the routine appropriate for the season).
But actually, Poi Sang Long is a very traditional Shan festival in April, a massive two-day party before sending off their little boys for a summer at the monastery. My favourite Thai festival for taking photos….
Most of these people in Chiang Mai were refugees or illegal aliens from Burma, but even they know how to put up a party and be happy much better than many of us.
Yet another lesson we could learn…. and I’m still trying to learn, even after ten years. My inner Hungarian (always complaining, moaning, grim and cynical for no reason and no end) has been cornered and caged, but makes a fierce attempt to break free every once in a while. It’s something safe and familiar to hold on to. Like a rag doll from childhood that stinks but you just can’t throw it away because it is so deeply part of you.
(Gotta love this cute future musician!)