During Poy Sang Long, Boys (between 7-14 years old) are getting their heads shaved as a sign of spiritual devotion. The earliest tales of the Buddha's renunciation indicate that he cut his long hair short when he left the king’s palace to wander the path to self-discovery. Buddhist believe that by shaving the head one gets rid of confusion, hostility, and attachment. Besides hygienic reasons, being bold also removes the risk of vanity and therefore allows to focus on more important things than fixing the hair every day. 

Traditionally the monks have the privilege to cut some hair at first, the families follow up and take another tuft of hair just before the monks return to shave the whole scalp of the boys. Thus, forbidden due to Buddhist principals no electrical razors are used for the shaving, only the old-fashioned ones. Many boys I’m asking are just fine with going bald the fast way, as they are keen to pursue the Buddhist folklore. As soon as the hairless kids are ritually cleansed with sacred water and anointed with turmeric, they will be escorted to the temple hall for their first session of prayers and chanting.
Die Legende besagt, dass Buddha sein langes Haar kurz schnitt, als er den Königspalast verliess. Abgesehen von hygienischen Gründen beugen die Buddhisten mit der Kopfrasur Eitelkeit und Anhaftung vor.
Claudio Sieber
The 10 years old Nawin Nanit prays after he got his head shaved.

During Poy Sang Long, Boys (between 7-14 years old) are getting their heads shaved as a sign of spiritual devotion. The earliest tales of the Buddha's renunciation indicate that he cut his long hair short when he left the king’s palace to wander the path to self-discovery. Buddhist believe that by shaving the head one gets rid of confusion, hostility, and attachment. Besides hygienic reasons, being bold also removes the risk of vanity and therefore allows to focus on more important things than fixing the hair every day. 

Traditionally the monks have the privilege to cut some hair at first, the families follow up and take another tuft of hair just before the monks return to shave the whole scalp of the boys. Thus, forbidden due to Buddhist principals no electrical razors are used for the shaving, only the old-fashioned ones. Many boys I’m asking are just fine with going bald the fast way, as they are keen to pursue the Buddhist folklore. As soon as the hairless kids are ritually cleansed with sacred water and anointed with turmeric, they will be escorted to the temple hall for their first session of prayers and chanting.
Buddhistische Prinzipien verbieten elektrische Rasierapparate, daher werden Einwegrasierer verwendet. Nach der Rasur werden die Kinder mit heiligem Wasser gereinigt und mit Kurkuma gesalbt.
Claudio Sieber
At dawn, the mothers are already busy applying some burgundy gloss on their sons’ innocent lips. Right after the make up, the Sang Long are getting wrapped in festive dresses, and adorned with traditional jewelry such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and last but not least; the crown decorated with colorful flowers. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Für die anstehenden Feierlichkeiten werden die Buben mit Lippenstift, Rouge und Puder ordentlich geschminkt.
Claudio Sieber
The ongoing metamorphosis doesn’t seem to bother the kids, who are monitoring mom's work with their little mirrors, smiling by heart. In this boy's case, the family would even fly in a famous make up artist from Bangkok in order to fine tune their son's make up.

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Eine wohlhabende Familie hat sogar einen professionellen Visagisten aus Bangkok engagiert, um den Look ihres Sohnes zu perfektionieren.
Claudio Sieber
Nawin Nanit, 10 years old, at 5 in the morning smiling into the mirror after his mom took care of the make up. They will now attend the second day of the ceremony.

turns into a little prince and will be carried around on the shoulders of a Tapae (helpers/ carriers). During Poy Sang Long. Nawin and his father Rung will sleeping next to each other outside in a temporary built up room as traditionally taught. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Der 10-jährige Nawin Nanit ist mit seiner Familie vom zirka 500 Bergkurven entfernten Chiang Mai angereist. Während fünf Tagen mutiert er vom normalen Kind zum Prinzen und dann zum Novizen.
Claudio Sieber
Right after the make up, the Sang Long are getting wrapped in festive dresses, and adorned with traditional jewelry such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and last but not least; the crown decorated with colorful flowers. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Nach einer Odysee durch die Welt der Kosmetika werden die «Juwelenkinder» in festliche Kleider gehüllt und mit traditionellen Schmuckstücken wie Ringen, Halsketten, Armbändern und einer Blumenkrone geschmückt.
Claudio Sieber
In a village near Mae Hong Son. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Den kurzlebigen Royals ist es nicht erlaubt, unheiligen Boden zu berühren, zumindest nicht, bevor sie am Ordinationstag als Novizen in das Kloster einmarschieren. Für die Zeit des Rituals stehen ihnen die Tapae (Träger) zur Verfügung.
Claudio Sieber
Nawin Nanit, 10 years old, turns into a little prince and will be carried around on the shoulders of a Tapae (helpers/ carriers). In this image, he is with his family. His father Rung Nanit carries him.

„These carriers, called Tapae, are like horses“ explains one participant. „Most of all, they are responsible to prevent accidents which might occur to the boys. That’s why we carry them on our shoulders, to make sure they are well protected and will safely attend the ordination, “ he adds. While the little princes are getting shouldered, other attendants shade them with a richly decorated umbrella. Some wealthier families decided to drive their junior, ergo to celebrate the procession in a pseud-traditional if not snobby way. However, most jeweled princes will be carried through town. Led by a monotone sound of drums plus clashing cymbals the parade inches forward, from temple to shrines, from monuments to government offices, or in remoter areas around their village to visit the elderly people.

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
«Die Tapae sind wie Pferde», erwähnt Vater Rung Nanit beiläufig, ohne dabei zu grinsen, denn auch er packt hin und wieder selbst an.
Claudio Sieber
During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Während die kleinen Prinzen Huckepack genommen werden, schützen andere Diener die Jungen vor der Sonne mit reich verzierten Schirmen. Ein paar vermögende Familien spendieren ihrem Junior sogar eine Fahrt im Tuk-Tuk oder auf der Ladefläche eines Pick-ups.
Claudio Sieber
During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Mütter und Omas tanzen entweder eifrig mit oder werfen den Kindern in Tücher gehüllte Münzen entgegen. Können die Buben die Münzen fangen, sollen sie Glück bringen.
Claudio Sieber
In a village near Mae Hong Son. The boys are being carried around. They will visit their close relatives to receive some blessing (mostly in form of money).

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
In den Aussenbezirken werden die Pro-Forma-Prinzen mit viel Enthusiasmus durch die Dörfer getragen. In den Häusern der Grosseltern treffen sie auf Geschichten und einen kleinen Geld-Segen in Form von 100-Baht-Couverts.
Claudio Sieber
Nawin Nanit, 10 years old, holds on to the Sai Sin during a ceremony in Wat Klang Thung.

Sai Sin. The white cotton thread is present at formal buddhist ceremonies all over Thailand, weddings and funerals alike, but also when people move into a new home. At larger gatherings like Poy Sang Long there is often one big ball of thread which is tied first around a Buddha image before being passed along through the folded hands (Wai) of the participants. Sai Sin is supposed to evoke protective powers, boosting protection and health to those holding or wearing it. The chanting of the monkhood and associated merit is then symbolically flowing through the thread reaching all those being connected to the thread. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Mit einem weissen Baumwollfaden, Sai Sin genannt, werden die Novizen im Kloster Wat Klang Thung aneinander gebunden. Das von Mönchen gesegnete und durch Singsang aktivierte Sai Sin soll allen, die es tragen oder berühren, Glück bringen und böse Geister abschrecken.
Claudio Sieber
At Wat Klang Thung 

Being fairly blessed, Nawin Nanit gets ready for the feast. The boys are still treated like royals, so their parents are feeding them obsequiously as an act of devotion.

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun. Outside, the „Tapae“ (helpers/ carriers) are patiently waiting for the boys to come, as they will be responsible to carry the jeweled princes (Sang Long) on their shoulders from temple to temple. The short-lived royals, just like real princes and kings, are not allowed to touch the ground – at least not until they will enter the monastery life as novices on the final day of Poy Sang Long.
Als Zeichen der Hingabe flössen die unterwürfigen Eltern ihrem Spross die Mahlzeit ein. Bald endet die glückselige, aber auch intensive Zeit für die kleinen Prinzen. Kein Sonnenschirm wird ihnen mehr hinterhergetragen, sie werden die absolute Bescheidenheit kennenlernen.
Claudio Sieber
At Wat Klang Thung 

10 years old Nawin Nanit is now ordinated, receives the novice's robe from his Father Rung Nanit and gets his eyebrows shaved. 

With noble intentions the fresh novice Nawin enters the monastery for a period 15 days, as suggested by his father Rung. Many won’t stay for that long, and return home after a week. Entering monkhood is a rite of passage for devoted Buddhists, although most of them spend a few days to a few months on the temple grounds as novices rather than making a lifetime commitment. After Poy Sang Long, the fathers are invited to sleep over at the monastery to be with the kids during night time. 

During Poy Sang Long the boys (between 7-14 years of age) are being dressed up to the nines in imitation of Gautama Buddha’s son Rahun. Historical tales indicate that Gautama Siddhartha (who became later Buddha) was a prince when he set off for self-discovery. Nevertheless, referring to the Tripitaka (the Buddhist almanac) Buddha himself has never been ordinated, thus the Sang Long follow the path of Buddha’s son Rahun.
Die orange Robe wird an die Sang Long (Juwelenkinder) übergeben, die Verwandlung ist vollbracht. Nawin Nanit fragt seine Schwester Rinrada, ob sie mit ihm spazieren gehen wolle und greift dabei nach ihrer Hand. Aber Vater Rung springt rechtzeitig dazwischen, denn von nun an darf der Junge keine Frauen mehr berühren.
Claudio Sieber
Poy Sang Long is over. The ordinary boys have turned into princes into novices. The day after ordination. 

Today, Nawin Nanit (10 years old Nawin) and the other early risers will now learn how to collect alms from the nearby villagers. In Theravada Buddhism, alms is the respect given by a devoted Buddhist to the novice, a monk or a nun. On a daily basis, the monkhood sets off for an alms round, mostly to collect food. This is often perceived as giving the laypeople the opportunity to make merit These donations are likely mistaken for charity, even though they are rather a symbolic connection to spirituality. The paradox in Buddhism is that the more a person contributes without seeking something in return – the wealthier and luckier one will become. Thus, many make use of the monkhood to outsource their own dilemmas by getting blessed for their generosity. By giving alms one destroys those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering.
Zum Schluss von Poy Sang Long wird den Buben beigebracht, wie das Almosensammeln funktioniert, denn von nun an gehört dies zu ihrer täglichen Routine. 
Claudio Sieber
Poy Sang Long is over. The ordinary boys have turned into princes into novices. The day after ordination. Ancient practice of Buddhist alms collecting/giving. The novices awake early and venture barefooted through the town of Mae Hong Son in search for food. They'll eventually return after some 2-3 hours with their bowls packed with essentials for the day. Only sometimes, during special occassions, lay people will give money for the monastery.

Today, the early risers will now learn how to collect alms from the nearby villagers. In Theravada Buddhism, alms is the respect given by a devoted Buddhist to the novice, a monk or a nun. On a daily basis, the monkhood sets off for an alms round, mostly to collect food. This is often perceived as giving the laypeople the opportunity to make merit These donations are likely mistaken for charity, even though they are rather a symbolic connection to spirituality. The paradox in Buddhism is that the more a person contributes without seeking something in return – the wealthier and luckier one will become. Thus, many make use of the monkhood to outsource their own dilemmas by getting blessed for their generosity. By giving alms one destroys those acquisitive impulses that ultimately lead to further suffering.
Im Theravada-Buddhismus sind die Almosen der Respekt, den ein ergebener Buddhist dem Novizen, einem Mönch oder einer Nonne zollt. Täglich marschiert die Mönchsbruderschaft durch die Gassen, um Essen und andere Notwendigkeiten für ihr Kloster zu sammeln.
Claudio Sieber
Sunset over the mountainous Mae Hong Son Province
Die Provinz Mae Hong Son liegt in der gebirgigen Nordwestflanke des Landes. Die sagenumwobene Landschaft ist mit rund 90 Prozent Wald und Reservaten bedeckt und weist die geringste Bevölkerungsdichte von ganz Thailand auf.
Claudio Sieber