The Chinese people of Samrong in Samut Prakan Province believe that their God Jao Por Tap will help them get rich. Behind Imperial World, on the old Paknam Railway Road, they have built a large Chinese shrine dedicated to this God. Every year during January, they hold a parade through town which is attended by literally thousands of local people.
I love attending Chinese Festival Parades as it is always a feast for just about every one of your senses. Just about every direction I looked there was something else to take a picture of, or an incident to experience. Everything was very colourful from the dancing dragons to the painted faces. The sounds were loud and almost continuous with the banging of drums and clashing of symbols.
There must have been over 1,000 people in the parade but there were also thousands of people lining the parade route through town. From where I stood taking pictures, it took them about 45 minutes to pass by me. Then as quickly as it started it was all over. Though, of course not for them. They still had a long way to go. I had to leave to go and take pictures at another job. But when I came back this way three hours later, they were still parading through the town!
It was a big event on the calendar for Samrong. Many shopkeepers had set up tables outside their shops with a small shrine. As with any Chinese festival there were also plenty of firecrackers being set off. The smell of burning incense and pyrotechnics was thick in the air. An event like this can only be appreciated by watching a video. Pictures only tell one part of the story. You can watch a video that I shot last year over at paknam.com.
Many festivals in Thailand like this one don’t get featured in any of the guidebooks. However, often they are more enjoyable and authentic than the ones aimed at tourists. Of course, the problem is finding out about them. For myself, quite often it is by accident that I stumble across a festival that has just started. I also sometimes see them advertised in the Thai media. If you want information about upcoming festivals then visit our Thai Festival Blogs. You can also follow me on Twitter.