Everywhere evident is the phallus, prime symbol of fertility. Most ghosts brandish a large wooden one with bright red glans penis, and sometimes
girls in the street are chased with them. Especially among the younger ghosts, the phallus may be replaced by a mock sword with a red pommel. The variety of phallic objects in the procession is rather impressive. I have seen them as big as a small cannon,
and being transported on wheels, while many pistols and shotguns had a phallic appearance. Then there was the combination of a phallus with wooden puppets which, by means of a simple mechanism, made copulatory movements. Even a wooden camera carried by a ‘photographer’
exposed a sizable wooden one (like a cuckoo popping out of a clock) when he took a snapshot.
An intriguing hybrid of fertility symbols was exhibited by one ghost wearing the lower jaws of a water buffalo protruding from his groin. As many performers
wear a belt with iron cow bells or tin cans filled with small pebbles dangling from it, their excited dancing to the rhythm of northeastern folk music or Thai pop songs is accompanied throughout by the ringing and rattling sounds of a herd of water buffaloes.
Villagers dancing in the compound of Wat Pon Chai.
Farmers in the parade may mime comic acts in which elements of human sex and daily
activities in the countryside are mixed. There was the angler with a wooden phallus dangling from his line as bait, and I remember well the two middle-aged men wearing traditional blue cotton shirts, straw hats and rubber boots — the characteristic outfit
when working the muddy fields — who mimed copulation with a large wooden phallus and a vulva adorned with bristly pubic hairs created from the husk of a coconut.