Shan boys, Poy Sang Long ceremony, Thailand by John Spies

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Shan boys, Poy Sang Long ceremony, Thailand by 

The Shan, devout Buddhists, linguistically related to the Thai, are originally from Burma’s Shan State, the country’s biggest. Over the past few centuries many Shan have migrated to Thailand, recently to flee persecution from the Burmese military. The Poy Sang Long ceremony, where young boys dressed as princes are ordained as novice monks, derives from the story of the young Indian prince who reached enlightenment. This picture was taken in a small Shan village in Mae Hong Son province near the Burma border, 3 kms from the headquarters of the Shan State Army that has been fighting the Junta for around 60 years….
Taken with a Canon 5DMKII, natural light


thailand, buddha, boys, portrait, ceremony, mae hong son

I am an Australian expat living in the hills of Mae Hong Son province Thailand (please visit I photograph almost everything, above and below ground.

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  • machka
    machkaabout 3 years ago

    Beautiful image and so colourful. Great capture, however the boys don’t seem that impressed by this ceremony.

  • It was the third day, shortly before they changed into monks robes. Three days of heavy make up, thick clothing, not much sleep on bamboo platforms, dancing and being carried on relatives shoulders everywhere, even to the bathroom, gets a bit tiresome.

    – John Spies

  • Jane McDougall
    Jane McDougallabout 3 years ago

    Quite surreal, all the pattern on pattern

  • Tammera
    Tammeraabout 3 years ago

  • ThanksTammera for the feature, most appreciated

    – John Spies

  • Tammera
    Tammeraabout 3 years ago


  • Trish Meyer
    Trish Meyerabout 3 years ago

    Congrats on your feature of this most interesting image John !
    Your response to machka adds even more meaning to the whole experience.

  • machka
    machkaabout 3 years ago

    That explains their expression.

  • Lilaviolet
    Lilavioletabout 3 years ago

    Fantastic capture!!!

  • Thanks for the comment Lila

    – John Spies

  • Jena Ferguson
    Jena Fergusonabout 3 years ago

    Gonna have to call you king Midas, everything you touch is gold. Great work as per usual John. My favourite ‘watchlist’ artist by far.

  • Gee, that’s nice, thanks for the encouragement Jena.

    – John Spies

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