Annual Non-Buddhist Religious Observances of Mae Hong Son Shan
Photo credit: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
The Shan people (also known as Tai Yai and Tai Long) lives predominantly in the Shan State in Myanmar, Northern Thailand, Northern Laos, and Southern China. Like their kin, the Thais and Laotians, the Shans’ traditional belief system is a mixture of Buddhist and local animistic beliefs. Though Buddhism dominates much of spiritual life, elements of animism remains strong, with rituals still being observed by the people. This is testament to Thailand’s open-minded characteristic, where varying spiritual beliefs exists in harmony and different practices thrive alongside each other.
Today, we take you to observe some annual animistic practices of the Shan people in Mae Hong Son Province, in order to shed light on the cultural diversity within the region.
Author: Paul E. Dourrenberger
* This article was published in the Journal of Siam Society and is being shared on the Thailand Foundation Website with permission from The Siam Society.