present, because of the widespread of global changes and new cultures, there
are hardly Thai children who wear topknots. This ancient ceremony, which has
been our heritage for generations, is fading out, and will be soon left only
in our memories. One of the reasons being that the Top Knot cutting ceremony
is considered too delicate compared with a normal hairstyle. In the case of
girls, a long hair is quite fashionable.
the old times, when the children turn to be teenagers (13 years old for the
boys, and 11 years old for the girls, referring to the Indian principle of
beliefs) that is similar to the European tradition called "the
Coming of Age", there must be a ceremony for this occasion so
called "Khon Juk" or the "Top
Knot Cutting" Ceremony.
It was usual that the Top Knot Cutting Ceremony to be held together with other auspicious ceremonies such as the New House Merit Making ceremony and the Birthday Merit Making because it was also considered a spiritual and auspicious ceremony.
was an evening chanting on the day before, then the ritual activity was performed
in the following morning by offering food to monks. The Child's Top Knot was
cut at the auspicious time. The candle revolution ceremony, which is a Brahmin
ritual activity, was performed in the afternoon in order to bless the child.
The extent of the ceremony was based on the host's financial status. It would be more economical if the Top Knot Cutting ceremony was held at the same occasion with the other ceremonies.
Let the astrologer to cast a horoscope for the child in order to calculate
the most exact auspicious time for the ceremony, which should be carried out
for 2 days. There should be an evening chanting in the first day. The offering
food to monks should be carried out in the next morning and followed by the
Top Knot Cutting ceremony.
a. Beautifully decorate the place for
the ceremony such as cloth or silk ornamental fringe, a many-tier state umbrella
(for civilians, either use 3-tier or use none), then decorated by banana tress,
sugarcane, and alternate-colored clothes. The surrounding columns of the ceremonial
hall are decorated with five elements including the carved banana trees and
carved pumpkin, together with scented leaves and flowers.
auspicious ritual elements
1. Auspicious Buddha: the Buddha image
(to quench the distress)
auspicious ritual elements
1. Siri Patta Mongkol: the auspicious
items such as Bai sri and Candle glasses (for good prosperity)
1. This is a candle revolution ritual
activity and blessings (to assure all prosperity in life)
In the next morning, the child is fully dressed by white clothes and decorated with jewels as in the previous evening. The child wears a coif but not wearing any shoes. The child is taken to the ceremony and positioned before the face-washing bowl and the coif-tray placed in front of the Mongkol tray. A person who would shave off the child's hair takes off the coif and places it onto the tray. The person then separates the knot into three locks. The tail of each lock of hair is then tied up with the Sai Sin, the ring of nine different gems (implying four of nine stars of astrology), and the bel tree leaves.
the auspicious time arrives, the astrologer strike the gong of victory, then
the monks chant "Chayanto", and then the Pin Pat (gamelan orchestra)
and Mahoree (Thai orchestra) plays their songs. The chair of the ceremony
then cuts the first lock of hair, the highly respected relative cuts the second
lock, and the child's father cut the third lock. However, it depends on the
host to invite any person to cut the hair locks. Once all three locks of hair
are all cut off, the shave person shaves off all the remaining hair then takes
off the necklace that cannot be wet. The child is then taken to sit at the
position that is arranged for pouring holy water contained in treasury containers.
The guests then pour holy water to the child starting from the most senior
to the least senior respectively. When the ritual holy water pouring is done,
the child is then re-dressed up accordant to their gender in order to clearly
present that the child has now passed the childhood. After the child is already
dressed up, the child must present essential items to monks by his/her own.
When the monks finish afterwards blessing, the child can then go back and
change the dress and rest until 4-5 p.m., the time at which the child has
to dress up again to attend the Brahman rite. At this time, there are no more
Buddhist monks. But, instead, the Brahman priests are in charge. Pin Pat and
Mahoree play their songs during the candle revolution ceremony. The child
must sit behind the Bai Sri table. The Brahman priest performs "Tum Kwan"
(bringing back the spirit) in Brahman ritual way by, that is, tying up the
wrist, anoint the Kra Jae powder to the child's head, feeding the child with
coconut water, and ending the Brahman ceremony by performing 3 rounds of the
- The Bai Sri has been an original Thai tradition for a long time. The candle-glasses
revolution is the Brahman activity that Thais add on as an extra ritual activity).
Note - If it is a royal Top Knot Cutting ceremony i.e. for the person ranking the royal prince or higher, it is called "So Kun Royal Ceremony". (The Group of Great Teachers. 2516 B.E.: 76-83)
The Group of Great Teachers Thailand's Important Traditions and Ceremonies Bangkok Sermwit Bannakarn, 2516 B.E.
Translator : Aketawan Manowongsa
17 April 2003