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Inthakin ceremony prays for rain, peace and prosperity

Ages old agrarian fertility rites

Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo strikes the ceremonial gong to launch the Inthakin Festival.

By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai celebrated the annual Inthakin Festival or City Pillar Festival which began on Sunday, May 25 at 4 p.m. when Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo hit the ceremonial gong before attending a worship ceremony at the Inthakin shrine at Wat Chedi Luang Worawiharn.
The day started from Wat Chedi Luang as a procession of dancers, musicians and Buddhist faithful towed the Phra Puttha San Ha Buddha image from the temple around the city and back to Wat Chedi Luang for the ceremony. Many Chiang Mai districts took part in the procession including Doi Saket, Mae On and many others.
Governor Wichien was joined by Deputy Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality Soonthorn Yamsiri sprinkled lustral water and placed flower offerings on the Buddha image as well as on the City Pillar itself and then placed flower offerings and coins in 32 bowls. Devotees joined in placing flowers and coins as well as sprinkling lustral water on the Phra Puttha San Ha Buddha image in front of the temple as well as on the main Buddha image inside the main temple hall.
The Sao Inthakin was built during the reign of King Mengrai in 1296 and was originally located in Wat Inthakin before being moved to Wat Chedi Luang where it is enshrined in a small wooden temple, the spot marks the exact center of Chiang Mai.
The Inthakin festival was most likely an ages old agrarian fertility ceremony to bring the rains although legend has it that a spirit came down from the heavens and gave the people a pillar to protect them. To this day, Chiang Mai residents worship at the Sao Inthakin on the 13th day of the waning moon in the eighth Northern lunar moon and continue until the second day of the waxing moon of the ninth month, this year ending May 31, 2014.

The City Pillar is buried inside the small wooden temple under the Buddha image to the side of the main temple hall. It is here that worship ceremonies were held. (Photo by Aaron Espana)

Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo lays khan doke, or flower offerings for the Inthakin.

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo pours lustral water over the Buddha image upon its arrival at Wat Chedi Luang.

The Phra Puttha San Ha Buddha was towed on its carriage by Chiang Mai residents to its resting place at the front of Wat Chedi Luang.

Faithful pay homage to the statues of the former Lanna Kings.

The faithful place coins in 32 bowls inside the main temple hall to pay respects and offer alms to the Buddha and the Sao Inthakin.

This boy brings offerings for the Sao Inthakin or City Pillar.

Dancers from many districts around Chiang Mai performed in the procession to Wat Chedi Luang.

A skilled knife dancer from Chiang Mai was also part of the parade.

An Arty fundraiser by Art Relief International

Face painting by Art Director Sarah was popular at the fund raising party.

By Shana Kongmun
Art Relief International and Cultural Canvas, the organizations that use art and creativity to reach disadvantaged people, both adults and children, held an arty fundraising event at Small House Kafe in Santitham on Friday, May 16, 2014.
Woravit Rattanakit, Executive Director of Art Relief International and Cultural Canvas, thanked Small House Kafe for hosting the event and the party-goers who purchased art done by students as well as merchandise.
Sarah, the Art Director of Art Relief International, painted many faces that then enjoyed music by a great DJ. Funds raised are being used to rent a larger gallery space in October to exhibit the works of students.

Works of art by students and merchandise were on sale to raise funds to rent a larger gallery.

Small House Kafe hosted the fund raising event held on Friday, May 16, 2014.

Be the Light; raising funds for at-risk boys

Urban Light Thailand Director Phimphisa “Dao” Chailoet welcomes Art Relief International Executive Director Woravit “Wad” Rattanakit to the party.

By Shana Kongmun
Documentary Arts Asia was the host for a charity fundraising party held by Urban Light on Friday, March 23, 2014. The event was held in conjunction with Love146 and Documentary Arts Asia to screen a short film made in Bangkok a few years ago interviewing boys who had turned to prostitution to make ends meet.
Urban Light is a local community grassroots organization that provides the Urban Light Youth Center (ULYC) for boys and young men in the sex trade. The shelter provides the boys with a safe place and assistance regarding education, health services, housing and emergency care. The evening saw more than 70 people turn out to enjoy food from Magical Gardens Café as well as win raffle prizes from sponsors such as Crossfit Chiang Mai, Wild Rose Yoga Studio, and Ristr8to Coffee.
The evening raised nearly 17,000 baht to improve the learning center for the boys. Art Relief International Volunteers were also on hand as they provide weekly art classes to interested students every Thursday at the training center. Some of the works of art produced by the boys was on display and for sale to interested parties.
Thailand Director “Dao” Phimphisa Chailoet thanked the crowd for their support of the event and for providing such a great turnout on the night.

Urban Light staffers and volunteers get ready for the party with Julia from Love146 (2nd right) and guests.

International visitors joined local artists and residents for the charity evening.

Jill, Michelle, Sue and Sean enjoy the food from Magical Gardens Café before the screening of the short film.

Mae Tao clinic focus at Expats Club

Expats Club President Nancy Lindley (2nd right) joins speaker Eh Thwa Bor and Mae Sot Clinic staff Kim with committee member Eveline and Le Meridien’s Phuthana before the start of the meeting.

By Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai Expats Club hosted Eh Thwa Bor, Asst. Director of Operations at the highly regarded Mae Sot Clinic in Tak on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai. The Expats Club’s monthly meeting was well attended as the expat population has heard many good things about this clinic that has helped so many migrant workers and refugees.
Members and guests of the Chiang Mai Expats Club expressed great interest in learning more about the clinic and why the people who use the clinic and its accompanying training center, school, boarding houses and outreach programs are reluctant to return to Myanmar despite the recent reforms and changes in the country.
The Mae Sot Clinic was founded by Dr. Cynthia Maung in 1988 to care for Burmese refugees. Today the clinic offers so much more than just health care and more about Dr. Cynthia and the works she is doing is covered in a personal interview with Jerry Nelson on Page 8 in our feature column “Under the Spotlight”.

Jo of the Dining Guide (center) chats with Kishore and Frank Sethi over coffee.

Jerry and Jan are ready for the meeting!

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Inthakin ceremony prays for rain, peace and prosperity

An Arty fundraiser by Art Relief International

Be the Light; raising funds for at-risk boys

Mae Tao clinic focus at Expats Club