The Invented Traditions of Phra Buddha Sihing – Phra Singh in Contemporary Thai Society

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Karakkada Bunwichai
Poramin Jaruworn

Abstract

This article aims at collecting invented traditions of Phra Buddha Sihing in contemporary Thai society as well as analyzing concepts that are laid underneath this traditional invention. Both written and fieldwork documents, together with online data, were gathered from October 2019 to June 2021 in Bangkok, Chiangmai, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Trang, Maehongson, and Samut Sakhon Provinces. Participant observation and informal interviews were mainly used along with related folklore methodologies, especially the concept of invented tradition. It was found that among 14 traditions pertaining to Phra Buddha Sihing, 11 traditions were inherited and  3 of them were invented: 1) the “Auspicious Event of Thailand’s Buddha Image Worship at the Front Palace” organized by the Office of National Museum, Fine Arts Department, 2) the “Yi Peng Ritual in Wat Phra Sing Temple, Chiangmai Province” created by chief monks of Wat Phra Sing Temple, and 3) the “Wish-making Ritual for the Reclaiming of Phra Buddha Sihing of Wat Hua Thanon Temple, Trang Province” invented by the former provincial governor. These three invented traditions of Phra Buddha Sihing, the focus of the study, were established based on the two concepts of tradition invention:  1) to create new traditions based on old beliefs, and 2) to combine existing rituals into new ones.  The study indicates the dynamics and roles of rituals, traditions, and customs within the context of contemporary society in Thailand.

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How to Cite
บุญวิชัย ก., & Jaruworn, P. (2022). The Invented Traditions of Phra Buddha Sihing – Phra Singh in Contemporary Thai Society. Journal of Liberal Arts Prince of Songkla University, 14(1), 183–206. https://doi.org/10.14456/jlapsu.2022.7
Section
บทความวิจัย (research article)

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