There is a traditional Thai game called wing pieow ( วิ่งเปี้ยว ) which is very popular with my students. In English it is sometimes translated as “relay race” or “flag game”. It is quite easy to play and very fun. You need two teams of equal size. There should be at least four people in each team. Two posts are then set up about 20 metres apart. The two teams line up at each end. The referee stands in the middle with his arms stretched out and holding a handkerchief in each hand. When everyone is ready he blows the whistle. The first member of each team then has to run to the far pole and back. Along the way they grab the handkerchief from the referee. When that team member gets back he then passes the flag to the second member and then that person has to run up to the pole at the far end and back again. Basically, what is happening here is that each team is trying to catch up with the other. If each team is equally strong then this game could go on for a long time until someone becomes too tired and slows down. In the picture below you can see that the guy in the white shirt has nearly caught up with the guy in front. As soon as he does that then his team is declared the winner. As a video would be better to explain this game, I will also be posting on our sister site at Thailand Video Blogs in the near future.
I went to visit the Ancient City again yesterday to take pictures of some of the traditonal Thai games that were being demonstrated. The one I want to show you today is the Greasy Pole Climbing Contest. In Thai this is called been sao nam-mun ( ปีนเสาน้ำมัน ). It is really fun to watch though not easy to do yourself. I have seen this before in Chonburi during the buffalo racing festival. They really greased the pole well there because they have some expert climbers. Basically, what you have to do is climb the pole to the top and collect the flag. The winning team wins 1000 baht. It doesn’t matter how many people help you but you have to share the prize money with everyone. The greasy pole makes it harder than it looks. It was so funny watching them as they kept sliding down on top of each other. I felt sorry for the guy at the bottom. This team never did manage to get to the top. Though they got close a few times. The version I saw being played in Chonburi had banknotes stuck in the pole at different levels. This encouraged them to keep climbing to reach the big prize at the top.
In a few days we will be launching our new video blogs website. You will be able to watch clips of this and other festivals in Thailand. Don’t forget to also visit our sister site at www.thaiphotoblogs.com for daily pictures from Thailand.
I spent most of today at the Ancient City in Samut Prakan. For families who are tired of all the water fights and want to celebrate Songkran in a more traditional way then the Ancient City is an ideal choice. Other websites will just be concentrating on the water fights. However, over the following days I will be giving you photos and reports which concentrate more on the culture of Thailand.
The photos on this page show you some people playing a traditional Thai game called “Sea Boxing” ( muay ta-lay มวยทะเล ). Basically, two contestants climb up onto a pole at either end. A bell is then rung and they have to box their opponent until one of them falls off. In total there are three rounds and the person who falls off the most times is the loser.
Some of the rounds were really funny to watch. Like the guy who was so sure of himself that he gave a big wild punch that was hard enough to knock anyone out. However, he missed, lost his balance and ended up in the water much to the delight of the crowd watching.
After the Sea Boxing they had another game which was fun to watch. This involved two boats with two team members in each boat. What they were doing was taking part in a race. Not your normal race as one of the oarsmen in each boat was blindfolded and the other had a gag on! So, without being able to help each other the result was pretty much like chaos.
I will be adding some video clips to my blog later so make sure you come back to check. And do you remember the Blindfold Boxing video clip? Well, I have another hilarious clip to share with you soon! Don’t forget to check our sister sites at www.thaifestivalblogs.com and www.thaiphotoblogs.com for more pictures and stories about Songkran.