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MAH SONG - Pure men

The ancient Festival of the Nine Emperors takes place through disturbing ceremonies, incessant prayers, incredible acts of mortification, trances, possessions, paths on sharp blades and on burning coals. This anniversary is celebrated not only in Thailand, but also in Malaysia and, to a lesser extent, in Myanmar, Singapore and Riau Island, it pays homage to the Nine Emperors, a group of 7 stars known to many ancient cultures from time immemorial.

The Mah Song, after rigid and long purification procedures, offer their bodies to the gods, becoming containers of the divine that manifests itself in the most disturbing ways. The purity of these privileged devotees guarantees them the endurance of the pain generated by the shocking stabs and disconcerting flagellations to which the devotees undergo.

Everything moves as if in slow motion, in the air thick with smoke and the sound of dozens of invisible bells. One after the other, some followers who in the meantime had reached the temple to pray, are overcome by shivers and gasps. Their head begins to nod rhythmically and incessantly, their eyes roll back until they show only the whiteness of the sclera and a guttural sound comes out of the mouth, repeated indefinitely, a sign that God is entering them.

With long pointed cones of steel, the Mah Song cheeks are pierced and slashed, without them uttering a cry or showing any sign of pain. The cones, penetrating, enlarge the wounds to excess, but rarely we see even a single small drop of blood gush out because, as we all repeat, God makes his chosen ones insensitive to pain. At this point the most unthinkable objects are introduced through the gashes in the cheeks.

You can find the full version of this report on:
OASIS – Environmental culture magazine – n. 206
Screening – Meeting “Mah Song – Pure Men”
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