Phetchabun locals are standing by their belief that erecting a pair of red panties on a bamboo pole helps ward off rain.
An ordination ceremony where the red knickers were the star attraction passed without incident early this month despite forecasts of stormy weather, they said, as they thanked the god of rain for paying attention to their plight.
Sompong Laklee, 47, from Wang Pong district, said her son and two relatives were ordained in a tent outside their home on April 3.
The village had been lashed by heavy rain and strong winds for days and she was worried the bad weather would cause the event to fold.
Elders reminded her of a local belief that if a widow erects a pair of red panties on a bamboo pole, much like a red flag warding off storms, the god of rain might be persuaded to spare them his wrath.
Urai Prathumchai, 38, a widow, was roped into buying a pair of red lace knickers which she hoisted aloft a bamboo pole. As she erected the talisman, she prayed aloud: “Please let there be no rain”.
“At first we put the pole beside the tent but we moved it to the front of the house because we were worried people might get upset by the sight of the knickers there,” she said later. The god of rain must have seen it, she said, because he kept the storms away.
Sumalee Seeklum, 69, grandmother to the three youngsters who were ordained, said some locals also believe that if you plant a lemongrass tree and have it pointing towards the sky, it will have the same effect.
“However, I couldn’t get it planted on time because of the wind. The sky was dark and wind was blowing strongly, forcing guests to clutch onto the tent.
“But after we put the knickers up the sky suddenly cleared, and the rain and wind left the scene,” she said.
“When the ceremony was finished and we brought the knickers down, the skies opened and the rain came pouring down instantly,” she said, saying she was in two minds whether to believe in the superstition.