January 19, 2017
While the west may scoff at the Thai people and their spiritual beliefs we ask What do Thai’s and Pagan’s have in common?
In researching festivals held across the world, I’m repeatedly reminded that while many outside, the Kingdom cannot fathom the Thai people’s beliefs in the supernatural, there are many examples from all around the planet, where other people share similar beliefs.
Thailand is a country that fully embraces both Buddhism and spirit worshiping, it is quite normal to see both running comfortably hand in hand, in its peoples every-day life. While many in the west, may scoff at the Thai people and their animalism beliefs, the west does not have to look too far to see, their own (and some may say strange), ancient pagan beliefs, that predate most of the world’s major religions.
February and the Pagan Imbolc
Today for example is the annual Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced “IM-bulk,””EM-bowlk,” or “oi-milk.”), also called (Saint) Brigid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa’l Breeshey). While it is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring, it has been high-jacked by others, including Groundhog Day and Candle mass in the states.
Most commonly held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is one of four holidays or major pagan sabbats, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. In between these sabbats, pagans celebrate the seasonal solstices and equinoxes.
Listed here are the attributes of this Western Festival and the Kingdom’s very own alternatives
Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young. Many Pagans will pay tribute to Brigid by arranging an altar and ‘invoking’ the goddess through prayer. The term ‘Imbolc’ derives from Old Irish and means roughly “in the belly,” or “ewe’s milk.” The annual holiday is a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young — all overseen by the goddess Brigid.
Thailand….The best example of ancient fertility rights in Thailand are undoubtedly the Isaan Rocket Festivals and the best of these has to be the Yasothon Festival, which is brim full of comical innuendo and phallic symbols.
Imbolc observes the waning of winter and approach of spring. Pagans often use fire and other forms of light to encourage the lengthening of day. Seed and bud imagery may be used, as well, to promote the growth of new life ensured by springtime.
Celebrants often prepare talismans to use during Imbolc ceremonies and then keep in their homes. These include a Brideog — a small straw doll dressed in white cloth — and a Brigid’s Cross, also often woven from straw.
As with many pagan holidays, food and music are essential. Dishes for Imbolc tend to incorporate seeds, dairy and other spring-evoking foods.
Thailand….Has its own events, based around the same rituals with rice being the main component and of course loud music, the best known would be the national event – Sart Thai.
Imbolc is a time for spring cleaning. Some clean their homes, take ritual baths and de-clutter their lives in other ways. This is believed to create space for the goddess to come into people’s lives and for new seeds to take root in the coming spring.
Thailand….We in Thailand have, our own spring clean, called Songkran. While it is known for the copious amount of water that is thrown everywhere, it is also a public spring cleaning holiday based on a religious belief that everything old and useless must be thrown away or it will bring bad luck.
So there you have it, while some may mock the Thai’s for their strong beliefs in the supernatural, the rest of the world sometimes forgets, that it too indulges in its own cults, witchcraft, Satanism, paganism and New Ageism.
In any one of which, you can find the same beliefs, that are also found in the many Annual Festivals held in Thailand.
For a brief descriptions on over 1,200 religious organizations and beliefs, as well as world religions on the planet click here
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