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Giant Red Swing Wat Suthat Bangkok

Giant Swing Bangkok 1910

  • In Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand are symbols of the Hindu religion which was first brought to the region over 1,500 years ago. Throughout Bangkok are images of Hindu Dieties (Vishnu, Ganesh, and Narayana images). The Giant Red Swing in front of Wat Suthat is another symbol. The Giant Swing is a symbol of an Indian myth and an origin mythology.
  • Similar giant swings were in ancient Sukhothai where in the 14 C Hindu beliefs were part of religious thinking. Good examples of Hindu style Images in bronze from Sukhothai at this time from this period can be seen in the Bangkok National Museum. The swings were part of a Brahmin Ceremony called '' Tri-yampawai '' or swing ceremony held in the first lunar month of the Thai lunar calendar. During the Rattanakosin period the ceremony continued but then during the second lunar month. Presumably the festival also continued during the Ayutthaya period of Thai history. However in 1932 the ceremony ceased due to the number of fatal and serious accidents associated with its conduct. This was a Brahmin New Year festival.
  • As Hindu mythology epic explains to us, when Brahma created the earth he sent Shiva to care for it. The circular base of the Giant Swing represents the earth. The swing ceremony involves men swinging from the top in an attempt to get a bag of coins. This is a representation of the epic myth in which Uma Devi makes a bet with Shiva whereby a serpent is suspended between two Putsa tress over a river and swinging back and forwards to aiming to strike Shiva to make him fall and thus signify the end of the world. Shiva stands in its path on one leg with the other crossed and when struck does not fall thus signifying that the creation of the earth was sound, secure and would remain strong.
    The Giant Swing ceremony symbolises the pillars of the Swing with the Putsa trees and  the space between its pillars is the river.
  • The Bangkok Giant Swing was built in 1784 an positioned in front of the Devasathan Shrine in Bangkok by order of King Rama I. This Shrine is the official Brahminical Monastery and center for Brahmanism in Thailand. Here still is an exhibition hall displaying equipment used in the Giant Swing Brahmin festival.
  • In 1920 the Swing was renovated having been damaged by lightning and moved to its current position in front of Wat Suthat. Major repair work was also undertaken in 2005 to December 2006.
  • The original timbers of this rebuilt Swing are now housed at Bangkok National Museum. The main poles of the structure are made of teak and are over 30 meters in height and 3.5 meters in circumference. The base supporting teak timbers are 20 meters high and 2.3 meters in circumference.