It’s a “Thai thing” not a “Scary thing”! Lang Pa Cha (Warning: Graphic Images)
Lang Pa Cha – Explained
If you saw these guys doing their “thing”. Don’t get scared. Lucky you! You are in Thailand. The Land of Smiles!
For people who practice Buddhism in Thailand, there are two religious rituals to honor the deceased. First is to cremate the body. Second is to bury the body.
For Buddhists in Thailand, the bury of the deceased is not as widely-practiced as the cremation. The deceased (who are Buddhist) is normally buried when he/she has no relative or the relatives does not have enough financial means to pay for the cremation.
Cemeteries in rural provinces Thailand oftentimes ran out of space as a result of too many deceased bodies being buried in limited amount of land. So the Buddhists in Thailand practice a religious tradition called “Lang Pa Cha”, which means “the cleaning and tidying of the cemetery”, where volunteers will dig up the bodies of the deceased unclaimed by any relative and cremate them to honor their spirits in accordance with the Buddhist religious rites. Such ritual is considered to be a good deed and a merit-making process.
At every “Lang Pa Cha” religious rituals, a large number of unclaimed bodies are always found. To cremate the whole body will take a long time. So only the bones of the unclaimed bodies are cremated – thus the reason for the dissection of the flesh from the bodies as you have seen in the photos.
The volunteers in this ritual are mostly the medical staff or emergency response crew who are the first unit to arrive at the accident scenes to save lives (easily identifiable by their blue / white uniforms and id cards). That is why they are used to seeing a deceased body and looked nonchalant in the photos.