Shan New Year 2019 - Thoed Thai

DavidFL

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What a crowd & what a load of fun.

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The 2019 Shan New Year in Thoed Thai was a real hoot.

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more to come once I'm back in Chiang Mai.
 
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DavidFL

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Some images from the start of the parade, as people gathered in the courtyard downtown.
I find it easiest to get to the parade before it starts to get photos of people, because once it gets underway it is not easy taking photos in the crowd and with participants walking by.
Thank you to Jurgen for taking a few snaps of me on the bike with the Shan gals of Thoed Thai. It's not very often I get the chance to have a fw photos taken of myself on the bike, so they are much appreciated.
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Confirmation it was a fun time hanging out with the Shan in Thoed Thai.
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The troops lining up for the parade
 

DavidFL

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Thoed Thai is one of the more out of the way places in North Thailand and was once a wild west town, the home of Khun Sa the opium warlord.

Some info on Khun Sa
Khun Sa – Opium Warlord

Prince of Death Road Trip-Khun Sa Memorial

The town has a fabulous history and a fascinating mix of people - Thai, Shan, Chinese, Akha, Hmong, Lisu and is an incredible peaceful multi religious community - Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Animist, Taoism.

It has a gem of a charming guesthouse the Rim Taan, right beside the Nam Khan river.

Thoed Thai Accommodation

The morning market is a beauty & my favourite morning market in North Thailand.
Thoed Thai

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Chiang Mai - Thoed Thai Return

Thoed Thai also has great Poi Sang Long festivals in March-April.
Poi Sang Long - 2011

When it comes to Shan New Year all the villagers from the surrounding areas come, so you get a intoxicating mix of ethnic peoples to mingle with.
The parade goes through town & ends up at a fair ground where there is a permanent stage for events. A huge fair is set up & the town is jammed packed with people & motorbikes from afar.
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There are multiple Shan dancing performances by various village groups for a colourful spectacle, that goes on for hours, terminating in a national anthem & then some serious fireworks at midnight. (I hope Jurgen will post some more photos as my night photos are very mediocre phone snaps.)

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The mixed ethnic crowd watching is a beauty
 

Jurgen

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Yeah! A great colorful venue in a charming remote place. Well worth to keep it in the agenda.

David’s enticing report and illustrations should be a motivation for more bikers to join next year
 

DavidFL

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On the next morning, new year's day there is a large "Tak Bat" merti making ceremony with the monks from the temples of Thoed Thai & some senior monks from Mae Chan.

The main ceremony is conducted on the stage, after which the villagers give merit to the monks as they walk around the sport grounds.
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I was honoured to be invited to join the village elders on the stage for the ceremony
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The women of the different village groups are easily identified by their colourful costumes.
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With the ceremony over the monks walk pass villagers for them to give alms and so make merit on the first day of the new year, bringing good luck.
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and that's Shan New Year in Thoed Thai, a wonderful cool New Year with super friendly people.

If you're riding round the North put Thoed Thai on your hit list for a night. It is as traditional as you can get and steeped in history, it should be a compulsory stop for everyone riding the North, for TT is he real heart of the Golden Triangle, and you can't say you've ridden the North until you have a night in Thoed Thai.
 

Jurgen

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As suggested by David, I am posting some additional images for the November 2018 Shan venue in Thoed Thai (David (sic): I hope Jurgen will post some more photos as my night photos are very mediocre phone snaps).
My contribution is in no ways better than David’s illustrations, and dusk or stage pictures of moving models are anyway challenging. The purpose of both of our write-ups is to document a colorful annual venue and to give incentives to other visitors to join next year.


What makes Thoed Thai special is not only its fascinating and somewhat secretive past, but particularly its modern ethnic diversity, with people living peacefully in a varied community, enjoying together all possible festivals.

The Shan New Year, celebrated with the first day of their first lunar moon, near to the end of the calendar year, is an example of such a cooperation; it is a meeting of folks of all religions and representatives of many ethnic groups.

The preparation of the evening parade through the village, begins at about 17:00, a good time to meet the pageants before they are in motion and to make encounters and acquaintances.


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Costumes of various ethnic groups


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Shan musicians playing traditional instruments.


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Preparation for the parade.


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A joyful and colorful crowd


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Dress of a Shan kinnara bird


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The official King portrait in front of the parade ... and a GT-Rider rushing to take over :)


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The parade through the village ... and a fellow photographer at work!


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Parade through Thoed Thai


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A Shan kinnara bird ready to perform a dance


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A Shan kinnara bird dancing on stage


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A Shan kinnara bird ready to perform a dance


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Kids in traditional Shan costumes


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A Shan kinnara bird ready to perform a dance


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A Shan deer dance – colorful money collector




The Shan New Year festivities provide a great opportunity to take environmental portraits, with people mostly more than happy to have a "selfy" taken by a stranger.

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A parade musician


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A parade musician


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Shan kinnara bird costume


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A fellow photographer


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An Akha lady in traditional dress – Thoed Thai also has a large Akha community




My former write-up (2004) about Thoed Thai and the Shan New Year can be found on GT-Rider website here:
Thoed Thai, the yellow flowers and 2014 Shan New Year
 

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Tarquin Ferrets

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Fantastic colourful pictures you have guys. Very good. Here's few pictures I managed to capture about Shan celebrations with my pocket camera. However, these are not from Shan New Year but instead Shan National Day celebrations in Hsipaw, Northern Shan State, February 2015.
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DavidFL

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Fantastic colourful pictures you have guys. Very good. Here's few pictures I managed to capture about Shan celebrations with my pocket camera. However, these are not from Shan New Year but instead Shan National Day celebrations in Hsipaw, Northern Shan State, February 2015.
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Man all the Shan festivals are amazing with the colours and costumes.
If you want to post any reports from Myanmar, there's a Myanmar section on GTR too.
I just love this Shan stuff.
 

Tarquin Ferrets

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Feb 4, 2019
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Man all the Shan festivals are amazing with the colours and costumes.
If you want to post any reports from Myanmar, there's a Myanmar section on GTR too.
I just love this Shan stuff.

I've done some rides in Myanmar while I was working there. Northern Shan State out of Lashio, around Kachin Capital Myitkyina couple times, Myeik in the south and northern parts of Rakhine State. I did a summary on FB about a year back but can create another tad more detailed one on your GTR Myanmar section.