Tuesday, January 29, 2008

LAOS 2008 caving expedition - baasii ceremony

The Baasii ceremony is held in Laos to wish a person health and happiness, or to give thanks when a baby is born or something good has happened, and when people are travelling. It brings back the spirits to the person and is important if a person is travelling, to make sure they leave no spirits behind.

At the end of our 2008 caving expedition, during which time we had been working with the villagers, they arranged a ceremony for us. We had to supply a male and female chicken.

The shaman or bomoh performs the ceremony, by banging a drum and calling the spirits home, then when he is sure they are happy, he and all the village elders tie white cotton strings on the wrist of everyone. Offerings are put on a table and everyone has to lift the table. The chickens in the meantime have been slaughtered and cooked, and their innards and feet etc are checked to make sure the spirits are happy. Everyone then shares a meal. This is a brief outline of the ceremony.

Village shop -

The shaman -

Getting the food ready

We were invited inside -
 the shaman greeted us
 then smoked his pipe
 whilst the lady killed the chicken
 preparing bamboo for laolao
 cutting up the chicken
 villagers walk by

 fire is nice and warm but smokey

 the rice is cooking
 the chicken is cooking
Shaman beats the drum for the spirits
 Lighting the candles

Now it is time to tie the strings

 The laolao is served -
 we drink

 the bamboo is refilled with laolao
Finally the food is brought in

 Checking the chicken's feet to make sure the spirits are happy -

The local girls watch

 Finally we stagger home

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission