Local woman honours promise in abandoned school dance ritual

Photo of Nattapong Westwood
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A local woman in Laplae performed a dance ritual at an abandoned school dedicated to deity for good fortune.

A local woman in Laplae led 12 dancers to perform a ritual dance at an abandoned school to fulfil a promise she made to a local deity after her unusual wish was granted. Neighbours quickly followed, seeking blessings for themselves.

The deserted Baan Huai Khamin School in Moo 5, Tung Yang Subdistrict, Laplae District, Uttaradit Province, once educated children up to Grade 6, but now stands empty as the children attend schools in the city. Yesterday, the school lined with overgrown foliage and silent corridors became the focal point of a community’s faith and tradition.

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The local woman, 59 year old Wanta, arrived at the school carrying incense sticks, marigold garlands, and two bottles of red soda. She approached the shrine of Pu Som, the guardian spirit believed to watch over treasures, situated beneath a colossal Bodhi tree that requires eight to ten people to encircle its trunk and towers higher than a three-story building. Wanta had previously made a vow to Pu Som, promising to offer a dance ritual if her wish to pass her driving test was fulfilled.

“I prayed to Pu Som, asking for success in my driving test. I promised to dance with eight other dancers if I succeeded. Today, I am here to keep my promise as I have passed the test.”

With the aid of a sound system, Wanta and her group of 12 elder female dancers, all dressed in traditional Laplae attire perform three songs: Ruam Boon Klong Yao, Klin Fang Nang Luem, and Sao Uttaradit. Their movements were precise, graceful, and performed with deep reverence for Pu Som.

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Wanta explained that at 59 years old she needs a driver’s license to drive around, due to her husband’s health issues which prevent him from driving. The local shrine of Pu Som at Baan Huai Khamin School is a revered site for the community.

Promise kept

Wanta had prayed for success in both the written and practical driving tests, promising a dance ritual if her wish was granted. Overjoyed by her success, she was joined by her group of female dancers, increasing the number from eight to 12.

The shrine of Pu Som has been a part of Baan Huai Khamin School since its establishment. Despite the school being abandoned, the local community continues to hold the shrine in high regard, maintaining the area and visiting regularly for blessings.

Wanta emphasized the shrine’s significance, mentioning that locals often seek Pu Som’s blessings for job-related matters and exams. Her fulfilment of the vow and the ritual dance were also accompanied by a request for good fortune in an upcoming lottery draw on June 16. If successful, she promised another grand dance ritual performance with a full band.

The local reporter noted that the ritual dance and the subsequent visit by the villagers to the shrine underscored the enduring faith in Pu Som.

Many residents came to seek blessings and fortune from the guardian spirit, maintaining the tradition and belief in the shrine’s power, even as the school itself remains silent and unused, reported Khaosod.

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