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Halloween in Chiang Mai

FERC - Foundation for the Education of Rural Children

Halloween in Chiang Mai

Staff reporters

Halloween, for many children known as the nights of the ghosts, is also one of parties, of getting dressed up, or trick or treating for the youngsters.

Chiang Mai celebrated “Halloween Nights” all over the place. Schools had best costume parties, pubs like Baan Ozone on Huay Kaew Road or The Bear’s Den had prizes for the scariest costumes and decorated their establishments with hanging spiders and other suitable scary embellishments.

But these days, not too many people remember that Halloween has actually been known since the eighth century to commemorate Christian Saints. The event was known as All Hallow’s Eve. ‘Hallows’ refers to the saints past and present as in “Hallowed be thy name.” So, Halloween means ‘the evening before All Hallows Day (which is now known in some countries as ‘All Saints Day’). It is important to remember that its celebration has a long history in the Church, long before the Americans brought in pumpkins and ‘trick or treat’.

Irrespective of the origins, Chiang Mai’s different groups celebrated. Chiang Mai had ogres and Draculas, and little pumpkin witches who were walking door to door in anticipation of treats. It was a reason to party, no matter which language or which country you were from and despite its sometimes staid image, Chiang Mai knows how to party.

Sorry it is not possible to say where those scary pale people are from… Asia? Europe? America? From heaven or from hell?

A little ghoul in competition with the most beautiful princess or the most stylish Spiderman.

It was necessary in ‘drinking holes’ to wear ‘staff’ badges during the Halloween weekend as it was impossible to recognize guests!

Bob the Builder and Snow White defy time travel and meet up.

Games for the little ones…

Even on the Sunday Walking Street, the artists turned into witches…

Staff and guests from Baan Ozone.

Teenagers from APIS High School in ‘party gear’.

FERC - Foundation for the Education of Rural Children

Feast! Entertainment! Raffle! Charity!

Marion Vogt
Photos: Michael Vogt

The best thing for an organizer of any event is to say, “Sorry we are fully booked.” And it is even better when charity is involved.

After the huge success of the last event, the planners, and board of FERC decided on a dinner party this time but involving some major fun elements such as music, raffles, and children.

Scott Jones and the children of the ‘Children in songs for better understanding and tolerance’.

The organizing committee brought all 26 children receiving help from the ‘Children’s Garden’ for guests to meet. It is always one thing to give for charity when you do not know where the money will end up but in this case it was visible and could be understood by everybody.

Jo Ann Steele explains the donation calendar. Make merit on your lucky day and send 26 children to school and feed them for only 500 baht…

The aim was to collect school and food money for these 26 children to make it possible for them to live without worries for one year. As Marc Dumur, Chairman of FERC told us, the ‘Children’s Garden’ need 500 baht per day for schooling and food. 98 community members were able to take part in the Dinner party and from these 98 sold entrance tickets, 500 baht went straight back to the youngsters, respectively the ‘heads behind all’.

Some of the musicians who dedicated time, love and music and who were a major reason that the FERC Fondue night was such a huge success.

But this left 267 days to reach the goal of one year without worries. The committee had long thought about what to do and came to the conclusion that there might be people who would like to go a bit further by sponsoring some more and using their own special days in their lives, like birthdays, anniversaries, or just good luck days for doing so. A calendar was prominently displayed at the Fondue House and everybody was able to put their name down and 500 baht in ‘the big pot’ for the orphans from Doi Saket.

Some of the youngsters who are able to learn languages and receive basic knowledge of the important things in life, like preparing meals, growing mushrooms, fruits and vegetables and doing laundry.

The orphanage is led by founder Aik Lone Khammui (nickname Stanley) who started the Children’s Garden from scratch on a plot of land he owns in Doi Saket, 20 km outside Chiang Mai. He runs it with his wife Bu and their six daughters and presently they take care of 26 children, some from the Akha, Karen or Lawa minorities, but mostly from Lahu hill tribes. Some are orphaned while others come from broken families that are unable to provide support for a number of reasons. Stanley has turned the Children’s Garden into a farm that aims to be self-sufficient within a couple of years. Fruit trees and a variety of vegetables have been planted. The diners could purchase samples such as fresh mushrooms and hand-made bags as well as small flower baskets to take home.

The secretary of the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children, Dr. Lina Thompson with her husband Charley and daughter Artcharaya.

At the end of the musical entertainment it was all smiling faces. Scott Jones, Aey and friends from Chiang Mai and ‘The Hug’ restaurant had delivered a musical message to the city and some money to the country which was their aim, as Scott had told us before the start. Original humorous songs kept the guests chuckling, smiling and joining in, leaving later having eaten excellent food at the Fondue House, listened to first rate pop and Blues and at the same time supported the Children’s Garden to make sure these youngsters have shelter, food and education for the next year to come.

If you would like to ‘sponsor’ these children on your lucky please get in touch with FERC. These children will appreciate it.

Interested in music, charity and good company were from left: Rainy Riding, Dr. Rebecca Lomax, Bud Velat, and Ellen, while Scott Jones calls out another raffle prize winner.

This seemed do be a ‘diplomatic table’.

Having fun while enjoying the excellent food at the Fondue House were (from left) David Brown from LIST, the Halls and the Hastings families.

Tenor Ruediger Liesmann at ‘his’ table, surrounded by women…