Long Boat Racing
Water and the lives of the Thai people have always been inextricably related. Throughout history, Thai people have built their homes and communities along rivers and canals, reflecting their dependence on waterways for cultivation, communications and trade. Boats have been used as a major vehicle, leading to the birth of diverse traditions associated with waterways.
During the high-tide season when the Tot Kathin merit making is held, Thai villagers enjoy playing “Phleng Rua”, or boat song, and gather for this song game comprising an exchange of impromptu verses sung in a courting dialogue.
Boat racing is another exciting spectacle which takes place during the high-tide season in September and October Long boat races are very popular and they require the participation of large numbers of crew to help in rowing at a rapid pace to reach the finish line.
Long boat racing takes place in almost all parts of Thailand. It has developed from a small-scale race at villager or sub-district level to a large scale one. It is in Phichit Province in the North that the vitality and carnival atmosphere of the races is best seen. The Phichit boat race is held annually around the Wat Tha Luang pier, with the winner’s cup donated by His Majesty The King. The event features international boat races, a contest of beautiful boats, a contest of cheer teams, and folk performances.
The long boat races are described excitedly through loudspeakers. The sounds of drums and crew members are heard all over the waterway. It is an exciting event for visitors and locals alike. Not to be ignored are the colorful cheer teams who add liveliness to the races. As soon as the emcee announces the end of the race, a great roar of cheering goes up from the winners and the spectators. This impressive picture leaves a lasting memory on the visitors.
Boat racing is a waterway heritage passed on from the old days. It boosts the unity of the people sharing the same waterway and brings together people from different localities for then annual cultural event. Boat racing is held in many provinces which are eager to conserve the tradition for younger generations.
Credit : thailandqa.com