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Last update: 07/17/2012
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Yipeng Festival
Worshiping with Phang Prathip and how to make Phang Prathip
            Phang Prathip (or Phang Prathit) is an item used as part fo the sacrifice offerings in the Buddhist traditions. The word "phang" refers to a small pottery cup or saucer used for putting in wax or oil to serve as a lamp with a wick made from cotton. The word "prathit (Phrathip)" means light.

            During the Yipeng Festival, Lanna people light phang prathit to pay respect to the Lord Buddha. The tradition stems from the Buddhist account of the five Buddhas which were Kokusantha, Konakhama, Kassapa, Khotama (the present Buddha) and Phrasi Ariyamettai.
Legend has it that these five Buddhas were born from 5 eggs of a white crow.  One day when the crow was out looking for food, a big storm blew away its nest and the five eggs were swept down river and each was saved by a hen, a naga, a turtle, a cow and a lioness.  The eggs were hatched into 5 male babies who later went into the priesthood and became hermits.  Later they happened to meet one another and exchanged the story of their birth.  They became curious about who their real mother was.  Then they prayed and made a wish to meet their mother.
And their real mother who actually was a goddess named Phakaphrom transformed into a white crow and told them about their birth and said whenever they longed for their mother, they could make a lamp wick from cotton thread and light it to pay respect on Yeping night and this would be a merit making of Phrathit tinka and lead them to become enlightened to be the five Buddhas. (Annisong Phangprathit Scripture (no date).
How to make a Phang Prathit
            Mr. Kaeo Chaikaeo (Interview, Nov. 6, 2008) is one of the producers of Phang prathit at Mu 8, Ban San Phisuea, Mueang District, Chiang Mai. He has made it for many decades and he kindly told us about the method of making phang prathit as follows:

1. Finely pound clay in a large mortar or grinder.
2. Mix it with water and knead it until the mixture becomes elastic.
3. Mix in some black oil and a little more water and knead well.
4. Put it on the turn table and form a small saucer cup and slightly press the lid of a soft drink bottle onto the rim to make a zigzag design.  Small cups can be baked right away, but bigger ones have to be dried in the sun before baking.
5. Wait until the over cools down before taking out the cups and clean off the dust or ashes and set them out to dry.

            How to make the wick
1. Dip white cotton string in melted wax and coconut oil.
2. Let dry in the shade and avoid sunlight as it will make the wax melt.

3. Roll the string to form 3 legs to fit in the cup (picture 1).

4. Put the wick in the middle of each cup with the tip standing upright on the three legs (picture 2).
5. Heat wax until it is a slow boiling liquid (picture 3-4).

6. Pour the wax into the cups and let harden in the shade (picture 5).

Belief about Phang Prathit offering

            Uncle Dusit Chawadchat (Interview, Nov. 21, 2008), an expert on Lanna customs and traditions gives information about the phang prathit offering as a means to pay respect to the five Buddhas from the white crow legend. It is meant to show gratitude to the elders and ancestors. Lanna people place the lit phang prathit around the doors of their house, water wells, granaries, stoves, stairways, windows, etc. this is also considered a worship of light signifying a sharp mind and a bright future or life.
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