Old photos of the Giant Swing

The local papers beat us to publishing photos of the recreation of the Giant Swing ritual. A smaller swing (about one-third the size of the old one) has been constructed and several times over Songkran, the swinging ceremony will be reenacted. This has been shown on TV several times.

(For whatever reasons, it seems the actual schedule of events for the 222th Bangkok anniversary is not easily available. TAT, BMA, and the English-language papers have a generalized version without specific times for individual events--only showing the six different zones where activities take place. Neither BMA nor TAT would give us a schedule or admit one was available. Finally a sympathetic person faxed us one in both English and Thai. This is the only way to see that the recreation of the giant swing ceremony is occurring on April 7, 9 and 11 from 17:15-17:45.)

Here is a vintage photo of the actual Giant Swing ceremony. The pole on the right has coins for the swinging monks to reach out and grab. A boy is underneath pulling on a rope to move the swing. There is also a support wire for the trams crossing through the photo near the top.


(Photo: National Archives)

(Photo: National Archives)

Bangkok has always been a city crisscrossed by overhead wires--maybe even more so in the past when tram cabling covered Rattanakosin Island like a spider's web.

So why are so many photos of the old days so blissfully free of wires? Because they have been edited out. Right is a photo from the National Archives showing electrical wiring partially erased to create a clear view of the offices of Barrow, Brown and Company (circa 1925-27).

(Photo: National Archives)
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