Gin Salat reminds me of Japan’s Bon Festival or Mexico’s Día de los Muertos. In Thailand, we honor the deceased by creating “salats” adorned with household goods. The idea being that whatever things the dead used while living, like toothbrushes and toothpaste, are needed again in the afterlife too.
Last year on November 5th, in Lamphun, my family celebrated Gin Salat. This is not a common or well-known holiday. You won’t see Gin Salat in the cities, in guidebooks or the Internet. (At least I haven’t so far.)
Most likely because Gin Salat is considered ‘old fashioned’ or ‘country’. But since my mom is from Lamphun, I was fortunate enough to attend these celebrations in 2009 and last year. 2012 was a particularly special year as Gin Salat was celebrated at our family temple.