Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Taylor Weideman | Poy Sang Long

© Taylor Weideman - Getty Images | Huffington Post
Here's another festival I would love to photograph...so in the bucket list it goes. The annual Poy Sang Long festival is a three-day long rite of passage for young Buddhists from the Shan ethnic group in Thailand.

The festival marks the initiation of 7-14 years old boys, as novices in the Buddhist community. It essentially consists of these boys taking novice monastic vows and participating in monastery life for a period of time that can vary from a week to many months or more. It's widespread in Myanmar, but the practice crossed into Thailand, where Shan immigrants have brought over their traditions.

The festival goes on for three days, as the boys are dressed like princes in imitation of the Buddha, himself a prince before setting out on the religious path, spend the entire time being carried around on the shoulders of their older male relatives.

Photographer Taylor Weidman's lovely images of the Poy Sang Long festival were featured in The Huffington Post. The accompanying article tells us that the photographer followed two youngsters, as they prepared for their initiation. The two boys are neighbors from Chiang Mai who traveled to Mae Sariang, a small town in northern Thailand near the Burmese border for the ceremony.

The festival of Poy Sang Long in Thai is called Buad Loog Gaew, which means "ordaining the beloved sons", and is held in early April when, in the city of Chiang Mai, pre-teen boys are inducted into the Buddhist novice-hood.

Taylor Weidman is a photojournalist based in northern Thailand. As photographer for Getty Images, his work has appeared in many of the world's most prestigious news outlets, including The New York Times, TIME, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, BBC, The Guardian, GEO, Der Spiegel, and others.