Saturday, 8 September 2007

The funeral party...

Went to the old dude across the street's funeral party last night...it was the saddest event I think I've ever attended. Not because of his passing, but it was so obvious that no one gave a crap..all the men were drunk off their nut and about 50 people were permanently set up out back in a gambling circle..it was hideous, people just taking advantage of an excuse to booze up and play poker....anyhoo, it did have its highlights..

This is his traditional sparkly coffin. They're big refrigerated shimmering boxes that are decorated with flashing lights and flowers! After seeing how the Thais do it, I couldn't imagine being put in a boring old wooden casket now! Thai funerals go between 3 to 7 days with the casket on display in a prominent position so everyone can give a blessing.

The redeeming factor of the evening was the traditional southern Thai entertainment in the form of Puppet Shadows! Considering I could only understand about one word in a hundred (they use bizarre voices and southern dialect) I couldn't really get that into it. Funny thing was that all the adults were watching the backstage area (12 men playing all the musical instruments and doing the voices and puppets) and all the kids were at the front watching the shadows!










Oh good god...more fireworks just went off a couple of metres away...by golly they're loud!!!

These are some of the unfortunate looking goodies on sale at the stalls across the street from the funeral. "Canom Jak"...sweet sticky rice and coconut folded in leaves and grilled over charcoal. Yumolla!




6 commentaramas:

Brunty said...

When you say "refrigerated box" are you referring to the box/casket being plugged into power and keeping the body cold or it is insulated like an esky?

I have been to a few Thai funerals in my time here and one highly regarded person laid in wake for 7 days and I am sorry to say that his casket was very decorative but it wasn't refrigerated or insulated and when they opened it before the cremation so that we could wash the body with blessed or holy water he didn't look his best.

They gamble and drink as Thais don't dwell on death and celebrate it instead. We all came from the earth and return to the earth or as they believe start a new life in a different form.

They gamble as it is legal to do so but only in the house where the body is being held and only cards. No dice and so forth.

The drink as it's a celebration and also sadly that is what most Thai men do in the villages, work the fields and drink until passing out.

I have enjoyed reading your blog.

Ally said...

Mel, I just ate a big meal but your reference to Canom Jak has made me hungry again!!

Who else was at Johnny's birthday party yesterday? or did you have him all to yourself?

Keep up the excellent posts.

Ally

Carol and Chris said...

I've not been to anything like that.....it sounds absolutely fascinating!! I love reading your blog cause your experience of living here is so completely different to mine.

I do like the idea of celebrating the life rather than mourning the passing .
C x

Mel said...

After reading your comment Brunty I had a little chat with my husband and it has come to light that indeed, most caskets aren't refrigerated!! He told me way back at my first funeral that the boxes are "Air-con" (whereas I think of them as big fridges!)and I had assumed that all of them were chilled considering the length of Thai funerals..considering "this is Thailand" anything is possible!

I whole heartedly agree about celebrating death and at the countless funerals I've been to here, this is the case, but this particular funeral was just a bit wrong!

Ally, he was JUST leading me off to do something sordid with me I'm sure! I wanted to kill someone for letting off those fireworks right at that moment!!

C - I think the same when I read blogs about city life in Thailand! I get so jealous of girly coffee and cake dates it's insane!!

Brunty said...

Mel I wish they were at times. A person doesn't look their best when they have sat at room temperature for 7 days at around 30-36 degrees heat.

They open the casket and then have you pour water starting from the head to the feet.

The first funeral the guy had been laying in wake 4 days and he looked very pail and gaunt, it was very errie.

When I went to another funeral where the man had been in wake for 7 days I didn't want to go near the casket but I did to pay my respects.

I think a refrigerated casket would be a great idea!!.

As you said This is Thailand and anything is possible.

I liked the story also of your hubby and the scorpion. Very funny and had me laughing picturing it in my mind.

I like your blog and your very colourful writing.

Mel said...

Oh, that's some nasty business! I'm quite fortunate to never have seen anyone so long after expiration! I've seen family reactions to seeing it though and it's pretty gruesome.

Perhaps my Fridge Coffins will make me squillions! Something to think about!

Thanks for your comments :-)