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“Buffalo Running”, Local Tradition

     Buffalo Running Tradition (Wing Khwai) is the tradition which is arranged every year on the 14th waxing-moon night of the 11th lunar month, 1 day before Buddhist Lent. It is the tradition which passed on since ancestors to late generations in order to perform ceremony for encouragement buffalo and let them rest from paddy field work to be according to the belief that if there's no Buffalo Running tradition in any year, there will be epidemic among buffalo. It is to acknowledge the importance of buffalo in farming career and to allow villagers to meet each other, mostly arranged in Chon Buri City Municipality and Ban Bueng district. Previously, there were only acquainted people in the local, but now Buffalo Running Tradition has become the official tradition of Chon Buri province which is now very well known among Thai and foreign people after all.

     In the past, Buffalo Running Tradition was involved with supernatural belief that if whose buffalo was sick, the owner should bring his/her buffalo to take an oath with god. When the buffalo recovered from the sickness, the owner must bring the buffalo to run in order to fulfill his/her vow. Therefore, in late years, villagers bring their buffalos to run order to prevent from being sick.

     For the procedure of buffalo race, the buffalo owners decorate their buffalo exquisitely with silk fabric, colorful flowers as well as the owners will dress attractively; such as dressing as hill tribe, Red Ondian or garnished like a prince in Thai traditional dramatic performance, "Li-Ke". Then, they will bring their buffalos to the race as the owners will ride on the harness as well. The enjoyment is on the running actions of each buffalo that some slip of the harness, and spectators will make loud noise upon their enjoyment. Moreover, there are buffalo health contest, elegant-style and funny-style buffalo decoration as well.

     Still, there is a contest, called "Nong Nang Ban Na" (Farmhouse Lady Contest) that makes Buffalo Running Tradition having more activities. Farmers are satisfied as their crops are growing as well as their livestock which receives health care because of their work for years. Farmers will arrange a meeting to exchange their experience and knowledge as well as buffalo health contest. However, the reason of choosing this day because it is Buddhist Holy Day, and everyone has to have day off to visit the temple to make an offering. Buffalo Running Tradition is not a nonsense matter at all, but it implies the unity because ancient people always realize the gratefulness and mercy, and it is to respect livestock that has worked for man....

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