U-DAY: A Celebration of the Human Nation
The Apocalypse is coming! Right?
As you read this, the higher-powers-that-be are conspiring to end it all this December. The Mayan long count calendar will stop clicking along its ancient stone divets, signifying the end of the last b’ak’tun and of time itself and The Four Horsemen will ride across the Kingdom of God and warn us against the divine Last Judgment (hopefully with sufficiently advanced notice). Just Google ‘2012’ and you may start panicking as astrologers from all over the world are jumping on board The Apocalypse Train. I hope you’ve had a great run, because 2012 is the end of it all. Apparently.
Well, enough is enough; I’ve had it with all this doom and gloom stuff.
While the ‘believers’ of the world are preparing for their inevitable (and frankly rather depressing) end, we are having none of it well, unless we can use it as an opportunity to throw a party, of course.
The U-DAY festival will be a celebration of life, and it is going to be held right here in Chiang Mai. The goal is to look forward to a future that does not involve second comings, risings from the dead and all the rest of the horror movie staples. The people behind U-DAY believe that instead of global apocalypse, the end of 2012 will be a chance for all of us to create a new beginning, and the U-DAY festival will bring together local and international musicians, artists, and spiritual leaders to help us dance our way there. The two day celebration at JJ Market will be held just after the designated time when the world is supposed to end.
On December 22nd, from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m., professional reggae artists from Thailand and abroad such as Pato Banton from England, Sista Apsara from Nakhon Ratchasima and Renard Jude Shar of Easy Star All Stars fame, (Antoinette Hall from Los Angeles) will all be here to welcome the headless horsemen…should they show their, er, faces. The lineup will also feature local artists such as the blind band that performs at the Sunday Walking Street market, and a Lanna string band made up of the coolest elderly men in the business. On December 23rd, activities will start at 8 a.m. and go until 12 p.m.
Nearly 4,000 people on Facebook are already planning on attending U-DAY. Want to know why? Officially, it is a non-profit, global gathering dedicated to promoting the values of grassroots internationalism, lasting world peace, intercultural kinship and social justice. It will truly be an intercultural and interfaith celebration. Local spiritual leaders from Buddhism, Baha’i, Christianity, Islam, indigenous beliefs, and Rastafarianism will all be participating in the U-DAY festival by offering prayers, giving presentations, and answering any questions you may have. And if your eyes are glazing over with this good will, you’ll be pleased to know that beer will be sold.
The vision is to celebrate deepening spiritual insight and expanding cosmic consciousness, recognising the emergence of planetary culture in all its splendour and diversity, and to mark the inner transformations in each individual who has assented to personal progression…Far out, right? Well, not for those coming from all over the world.
The event is being organised by locals, so the emphasis on local artists and musicians is heartfelt and genuine, and the festival will be a celebration of the city itself. What makes Chiang Mai so attractive and special is the diversity of everything inside it, and it’s time for us to embrace it. So pencil the U-DAY festival into your calendar. December 22nd and 23rd is your chance to restoke the acidic waves of the sixties and ride the vibes, get drunk and dance to live reggae music while hitting on that hot yoga instructor you fancy. Sit down and talk with a leader from a faith you’ve never explored, create a connection with a complete stranger, and rejuvenate while knowing that the end of the world is really a new beginning. U-DAY will be here with open arms…and did we say beer?
Tickets cost 400 baht.