The Study of Cultural Identities of Boon Khao-ji Tradition in Dong Mafai Subdistrict, Saimoon District, Yasothorn Province, Thailand
This study aimed at investigating the cultural identities of Boon Khao-ji tradition in Dong Mafai Subdistrict, Saimoon District, Yasothorn Province. The subjects of this study were 20 lecturers with their 45 years and more of age, and they had lived in Dong Mafai and participated in Boon Khao-ji tradition annually. The study procedures lasted for 6 months. The data were collected by employing an in-depth interview, and it was analyzed by using the triangulation method. The results of the study showed that Boon Khao-ji tradition in Dong Mafai was one of the Heet Sibsong traditions of Isans. There were 8 aspects that helped build up its cultural identities as follows: 1) The aspect of traditional existence; in the earliest period, the offering set (Kreung Bai-sri) and the set of betel nuts had been used as the oblation. Later, they changed to use Kreung Roi Kreung Pan which was a kind of oblations used in a religious ceremony that were held in the third month of the year. 2) The aspect of traditional practice; Boon Khao-ji was held for 4 days. The first day was called the preparation day; local people participated in preparing and making Kreung Roi Kreung Pan. The people listened to the Buddhist sermon in the evening for 3 nights, and they also brought some rocks and water into the rite. In the morning of the fourth day, they participated in the ceremony by offering Khao-ji, Khao-pong, and Khao-kad to Buddhist monks. After that, they brought the rocks and water back to their houses by placing them or sowing them around their houses. 3) The aspect of beliefs of Khao-ji; according to the Buddha’s biography, it believed that people would gain and absorb a lot of virtue by making merit with Khao-ji. The ceremony had to be cerebrated by using the full set of oblations, and it had to be held every year. However, it believed not to make Khao-ji during the rainy season because it would cause the damage to rice plants in the fields. 4) The symbolic aspect; the symbols of this ceremony consisted of Kreung Roi Kreung Pan as it was the Brahmin belief; rocks and water as it was the ghost belief; and Khao-ji, Khao-pong, and Khao-kad as it was the Buddhist belief. 5) The aspect of local knowledge; the ceremony displayed knowledge in using the traditions to rule and build up the unity in communities. 6) The aspects of well-organized features; they consisted of the administration by communities with the flexibility conformed to the community contents, the participation in all parts of communities, and the use of advantages from holding the ceremony. In case of the advantages of ceremony, namely, every group of communities could illustrate their knowledge and skills in developing the community economy. 7) The role of Boon Khao-ji tradition and development; it helped build up the participation and organization in communities. 8) The ways of using the cultural identities in developing communities; they consisted of gathering experts and knowledge, transferring knowledge by individuals, processes and activities, and other means that were re-established by gathering people who worked in other communities, and appointing them to be the leaders in organizing the cultural traditions’ preservation and conservation in their communities.
Keywords - Identities of Boon Khao-ji Tradition, Culture for development