Yesterday saw the once annual ancient Lua ceremony of Pu Sae Ya Sae pass by with little fanfare. This yearly ritual is likely the most gruesome pubic event, held around May or June of each year, to appease the canabalistic spirits of Pu Sae and Ya Sae (grandfather and grandmother giants) who are believed to roam the Doi Suthep-Pui mountain ranges. According to lore, the Brobdingnagian pair met the Buddha during his travels one day and promised him that they would become vegetarian. But once a year, on this special occasion, a local person is possessed by the spirits of either Pu Sae or Ya Sae, and in an incredible display of spirit possession, will drink moonshine, speak in tongues and eat a newly sacrificed buffalo – often gnawing at its flesh and drinking its blood.
Those looking for some titillating gore were disappointed over the past two years as the pandemic forced the event near Mae Hia’s Doi Kham temple to be cancelled. And while this year’s event went ahead, it was a subdued version with simple praying to the spirits and offering them prayers and holy offerings.