The Monkey Forest: a community space

The monkey forest (Don Chao Poo) is frequently used by the community of Phana for ceremonial and celebratory occasions. The Phana Municipality (Tetsaban Phana) is responsible for the forest and it is the tetsaban which organizes events there.

Sometimes the tetsaban is a facilitator, as it is for the annual retreat by monks who spend ten days in December meditating and teaching. The tetsaban prepares the forest for them and organizes a rota to ensure that the food offerings are made each day.

Alms round, Don Chao Poo

On other occasions such as the celebration of the Songkran festival in April, the tetsaban is more fully involved.

Songkran in Don Chao Poo

Songkran beauties

An event that was initiated in 2011 was the bicycle rally on the first day of the Wat Phra Lao festival in February. It is expected to become an annual event. The opening ceremony and gathering of cyclists took place in Don Chao Poo.

Bicycle Rally in Don Chao Poo

Cyclists rally in the Monkey Forest

The celebration of Boun Pravet begins in Don Chao Poo before the procession moves off to the wat holding the festival:

Some parades and processions end at the monkey forest:

Driving into Don Chao Poo

Marching into Don Chao Poo

Dancing into Don Chao Poo

Chao Poo has to be propitiated before using his forest:

Shrine of Chao Poo

And since it is also the monkey forest, the monkeys have to be pleased too:

Monkey feast, Don Chao Poo

This one certainly looks well-pleased:

Monkey feasting in Don Chao Poo

All these photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. You can see them (and lots more) as a slideshow on the page ‘Community Use’.

About isantraveller

I have been in and around North-East Thailand for more years than I can recall. I now live here permanently. I have travelled in 32 countries on 3 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa) so I am a bit of a traveller.
This entry was posted in Amnat Charoen Province, Ceremonies and Celebrations, Long-tailed Macaques, Monkeys, spirit cults, Tetsaban Phana and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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