Sunday, December 20, 2009
Our first stop this morning was a very old Chinese temple in the city. We bought offerings of candle and incense sticks and gold leaf paper so we could perform the rituals along with the local folks. The interior was smoky and dark. We went from one station to another, lit our candle sticks and inserted them into large basins filed with gravel so the sticks would stand upright. Then we lit our incense sticks and went from station to station placing three sticks in a basin at each one.
Between sparks flying and wax dripping, I managed to burn myself three times (but not seriously). We also had to shake a can filled with sticks that had numbers on them. Eventually, a stick with a number fell out of the can. A young boy then presented us with a corresponding piece of paper keyed to the number on the stick. It told us in Thai and Chinese what our fortune would be.
I didn't understand much about the translations to English except that mine was rated "excellent." Which I was glad to hear.
Our last task was to light roles of paper embossed with gold (at least, it looked like gold) and then toss them into a furnace. I succeeded in not getting burned at all with this task.
At each station in the temple, there were many offerings that had been left for the various deities. (And don't ask me to explain who they were. I only know that one was a female deity.) The whole roasted pigs you see in one of the photos above were "offerings" by believers who must be wealthy as most were far more modest.
There were no other "farangs" in the temple, except Cindy and me. Cindy is small and petite and seemed to fit right in. I, on the other hand, was the tallest, biggest person in there--and was also taking pictures. (I asked first and was told it was okay.)
Nothing like standing out in a crowd.
Posted by KK at 3:05 AM