Road manners - showing respect to a shrine
Most Thais are Buddhist and they are fairly serious about their religious practices. Around the country, it is customary to have small shrines erected by the roadsides to bless road users. To jive in with this practice, passer-bys would paused momentarily and clapped their hand together to show their respect and gratitude.
What about those driving pass? It would hinder their journey as the vehicle would bound to pass by many of such little shrines all the way. Motorist came up with a short cut and an ingenious way -they hooted their horns to acknowledge as they passed by without stopping or slowing down.
A short distance from the junction just north of Chumphon during the past several trips, I noticed that this act. The road was the busy Highway 4, and the shrine located right at a small bend. Imagine vehicles passing by at high speed and negotiating a bend. It was an endless stream of horning from vehicles on both sides of the road.
This trip, I noticed the shrine upgraded and the highway slightly straighten with parking bays along the road, the stretch after passing the shrine.
Of course the new facilities also came with rest stop and new rows of fruit stalls. That explain the upgrading of the shrine as more stoppage also increased the amount of donations.
For those who had made the stop, the keeper of the shrine was also well organized to tap that opportunity. Bundle of joss stick with incense papers for burning, and something I never saw before - they also have gold foil for sale. These expensive stuff would be pasted on the Buddha or Elephants statues as offerings. Couldn't understand how donations were eventually translated but with the offering completed, this ritual ended with the releasing a burst of fire crackers.
This is a basic package offered at Bahts 40. Then there are various sizes of fire crackers available as alternatives.
Our devotees carefully depositing the gold foil on the arm of Buddha. It was particularly interesting for me.
The custom of the continuous sounding of the horns was then replaced by the sporadic sounding of the fire crackers. Or was it both? Many stopped but not all. They who didn't stop would continued the old practice of using the horn.