Informing the Spirits Ceremony (Buwong Suwong)
The enduring belief of the Thai people in the unseen, the spirits which inhabit all places and which have to be kept happy or, if necessary, appeased when they are angry, is mentioned several times elsewhere in this book. There are visible signs of this redolent animism, which coexists quite happily with the dominant Buddhism in the little spirit-
A much more sumptuous and elaborate version of this tradition is the Buwong Suwong ceremony, which must be held prior to the Annual Homage-
A special banquet is laid on for the spirits, the menu varying according to a whole range of factors, including the favourite dishes of the particular deity to whom a special appeal is being made. A pig’s head, chicken, desserts and fruit are typical offerings, along with candles, incense sticks, flowers and other gifts. The important factor is that, once it has been determined which form of Buwong Suwong the ceremony is to take, there is no room for personal choice in the offerings provided: an exact list has to be followed with no omissions or deviations.
After waiting a suitably respectful time –
Now that the spirits have been made aware of what is to happen and their favour has been sought through the edible offerings, the main ceremony can proceed as planned. The precise details of all the ceremonies differ according to the traditions of the Muay Thai training camp/teacher involved. Invariably, however, all the ceremonies are very powerful and moving, making, as intended, a permanent impression on the participants’ minds and helping to stiffen their resolve.