Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cuam and the Beliefs of the Thai-Khmer

By SALEE Banyat
Department of Thai and Oriental Languages,
Humanity and Social Faculty, Mahasarakham University,
This technical article presents a view of the beliefs and ceremonial customs of the Thai-Khmer people of Thailand. The Thai-Khmer population is approximately 500,000. Most of them live in the northeastern border provinces near Cambodian. The majority of these people reside in the provinces of Ubon Rachthani, Srisaket, Surin, Buriram, Sa-Kaeo, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Rachasima, Chanthaburi, and Trat. Some of the population has moved as far from the border as Maha Sara Kham and Chachoengsao. Cuam tells us that these Thai-Khmer people believe in the past, particularly in relationship to its relevancy with the god Kru. They believe that Kru exists in the human body from birth until death. The god Kru has two forms. There is the Kru of birth and the teacher Kru. Kru of birth is honored by Thai-Khmer people in a unique ceremony called “Coul-Ma-Maut”. The ceremony is undertaken during periods of sickness. At present this ceremony is still practiced in some Thai-Khmer communities. Thai-Khmer groups in Ban Sway, Tanbon Sway , Amper Muang, in Surin Province are an example of these groups. This particular community affords interested parties an excellent opportunity to learn more about the way of life and the beliefs of the Thai-Khmer people.

Keyword : cuam, Thai-Khmer, Coul-Ma-Maut
Paper in Southeast Asian International Conference

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