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Thu 27 Apr 2017
Phra Samut Chedi Fair
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 21 October 2003 00:00

Every year in October there is a big temple fair in Samut Prakan. It is the most important annual tradition for the people in our province. It is called the “Phra Samut Chedi Fair” and lasts for nine days and nine nights. It is an event that we all look forward to as there are many stalls with things to eat as well as games to play.

Phra Samut Chedi was built on a small island in the Chao Phraya River about 180 years ago. King Rama II said that he wanted all foreigners entering Thailand to know that we are Buddhists. These days, most foreigners fly here by airplane and so they never get to see our famous temple. And anyway, even though the Thai name still calls it the temple in the middle of the river, it is now on the riverbank. Some time during the last century, the river must have changed course, but no one thought about changing the name!

I am not sure when the fair first started, but I do know it was a long time in the past, even before my parents were born. The fair begins with a big parade through the city. They have marching bands and lots of floats. At the same time they carry a big red cloth which is later wrapped around the chedi. After the parade has finished, they take the red cloth across the river on a boat to Phra Samut Chedi.

This year, I was there waiting for the cloth to arrive. From the boat, six sailors carried the red cloth to the temple where they unwrapped it. Then they passed the cloth to the people who had come to take part in the ceremony. I held the cloth above my head with the others and then we walked around the temple three times in a clockwise direction.

The white chedi was looking very bare while it was waiting for the red cloth. Someone on the loudspeakers told us that with the rain and sun the cloth starts to rip after only one year. That is why they have to change it. He also added that only members of a certain family are allowed to make this cloth and then wrap it around the chedi.

After the ceremony had finished, the temple fair began. It is the same kind of thing like you can see anywhere in Thailand except it’s huge! The main road that goes through the Paknam market is closed every night for nine days. There must be thousands of people who come here for the fair on both sides of the river. You won’t be able to walk very fast and it is easy to get separated from your friends and family if you don’t grab onto each other!

In the fair, there are many different kinds of shops. Of course, I like the shops that sell snacks the most! The most unusual snack is the fried insects. I remember, when I was younger, we used to dare each other to eat these insects. It is kind of a weird thing eating grasshoppers and bamboo worms but when you get used to it, it is such a nice snack. Myself, I like the grasshopper more than any others. But I would never eat the fried baby birds.

At the fair, there are also fun things like a ghost house, bumper cars, shooting galleries and a giant wheel. It is the kind of thing I used to like the most about this fair when I was a kid. But now I am more likely to run a small stall on the road with a couple of my friends. I did that last year and it was really fun as there are lots of people coming and going, especially girls!

If you are not doing anything this week then come to Samut Prakan for our temple fair. There are lots of fun things to do and plenty of delicious food to eat. You won’t be disappointed.