Chiang Mai or “Nop Buri Nakorn Pink”, the former capital of the Lanna kingdom, is considered an area of nature, cold weather, and diverse culture. Being a hub of several ancient realms, Chiang Mai has been a center of exchanging knowledge, religions, architecture, and commerce for centuries. This facet has created the unique Lanna characteristics.
People who came to settle in Chiang Mai brought with them handicrafts such as umbrella making, silverware, and woodcraft. Cultural traditions like the traditional New Year celebration the Lanna Songkran festival, and the ceremony of worshiping the Inthakin Pillar were also imported.
Tan Guay Salak is a communal festival that takes place every October in Chiang Mai and some other provinces. Men make bamboo baskets into which women place fruit, candies, and other delicacies. The container is then topped with money and presented to Buddhist monks in memory of the dead. It is given as an offering of thanks, remembrance, and to increase the chance for the living to merit a better reincarnation.
Many Chiang Mai rituals express the belief of religions and spirits. Such ceremonies are, for example, releasing hot-air balloons representing letting go all of one’s bad luck, the Great Sermon, lighting pot candles to pay respect to Buddhism and Pra Tat Toong, which is a long-pole flag made to accompany these religious ceremonies from birth to death. A defensive moat around the old town was created long ago. Along the watercourse are old fortresses called “jaeng” meaning corner in the local language. Within the square was the location of a palace of Chiang Mai’s old rulers (now a government service office), and many important ancient temples such as Wat Pra Singha with its delicate Buddha image hall or Wat Chedi Luang which has the biggest Chedi in Chiang Mai.