The extended family that I visited in Ang Thong in April are in the process of turning a vacant lot into new accommodation/businesses. While I was there we had a blessing of the first stage by monks from two of the local wats.
I was afraid that this would involve an incredibly early start, but the scheduled time was quite civilised: around 8am. Of course, this meant that the women started cooking much earlier, but for a man the main responsibility seems to be to await orders.
Eventually the time came to load food and other equipment on the pickup and we were off. The equipment included mats for the monks, who arrived later in a couple more pickups.
The ceremony was similar to various celebrations I’ve seen back in New Zealand. But it is enjoyable to see these things in their natural environment.
After the chanting it was time to serve the monks. So, finally, at this stage it’s an advantage being a man, since we can hand the food across, whereas the women would have to place it on the monks’ receiving cloths. Of course, being Thailand, there was enough food to feed a small army, so once the monks had taken what they needed no-one went hungry.
The final part of the ceremony was blessing the individual rooms and some sprinkling water around. Then the monks were back on the pickups and the workmen who had been politely waiting could get on with the rest of the job.