The "Forest Gate Pavilion" stands as a profound emblem of the Yi Peng Festival, its historical roots delving deep into the beliefs and sacred customs of the Lanna people throughout antiquity.
This term, "Forest Gate Pavilion," alludes to the entrance leading into the forest, typically manifesting as a post positioned on the periphery of a village. It serves as a consecrated space for communal ceremonies, meticulously adorned in anticipation of Yi Peng, usually one to two days ahead. This embellishment entails the inclusion of banana trees, coconut fronds, sugar cane, ginger, rabbit ear lanterns, a variety of lantern styles, and an array of flowers such as marigolds and daisies, all culminating in the creation of an exquisite pavilion.
Originally, this ritual served as a tribute, a welcoming gesture for Lord Vessandorn on the auspicious day of Yi Peng, as he emerged from the forest into the city. This remarkable event is vividly recounted in the Vessandorn Jataka, marking the concluding chapter of Lord Buddha's earthly journeys prior to his enlightenment.
A paramount facet of Yi Peng involves the use of the pavilion as a focal point for illuminating lanterns, an act of devotion to the Five Lords. Candles are carefully placed within rabbit ear lanterns or other ornamental lantern styles.
Despite the fading of beliefs surrounding the Forest Gate Pavilion in contemporary times, the tradition of adorning these pavilions during the Yi Peng Festival continues to thrive. It is observed across communities, temples, households, as well as within various enterprises and hotels. Recent years have witnessed competitive endeavors to embellish Forest Gate Pavilions in diverse communities, a testament to the enduring allure of this tradition and its power to forge communal bonds.
This year, an exciting array of activities centered on the decoration of Forest Gate Pavilions awaits, promising a celebration of this cherished tradition. Stay tuned for more!