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THAI VILLAGES SACRIFICED DOREAMON INSTEAD OF REAL CAT FOR RAIN

In a bid to bring much-needed rain to their drought-stricken villages, residents in three villages in Nakhon Sawan province, Thailand, have revived an ancient ritual with a modern twist. The traditional ceremony, known as the Hae Nang Maew Ceremony or Cat Parading Ceremony, typically involves parading a live cat to entice the rain gods to bring forth rain essential for their crops.

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However, in a move that has captured global attention, the villagers opted to use a Doraemon soft toy instead of a live cat. Doraemon, a popular Japanese manga and anime character, is a robotic cat with the ability to travel through time. The adaptation was conducted in late April and was posted on social media by Dr. Tarin Clanuwat, a research scientist with a PhD in Japanese Literature from Waseda University.

The post, which included an image of the Doraemon soft toy being carried in a cage, went viral, amassing over 16 million views, 219,000 likes, and more than 39,000 reposts as of May 2. Local sources in Thailand reported that the ceremony is a customary practice among Thai farmers, who believe that parading a cat, an animal traditionally averse to water, will entice the rain gods to bring forth rain.

In the original ritual, a cat’s cry during the procession is seen as a harbinger of imminent rain. By using a Doraemon soft toy instead of a live cat, the villagers ensured that the ceremony’s essence was preserved without subjecting an actual cat to potential distress. Several netizens who commented on Dr. Clanuwat’s post praised the substitution, noting that it was a humane and creative way to adapt the traditional ritual.

Thailand has been battling a severe heatwave throughout April, with more than three dozen districts across 77 provinces experiencing record temperatures. According to data from the Thai Meteorological Department, temperatures have topped 40°C in 26 provinces in April. The villagers’ efforts to bring rain to their parched lands are a testament to their resilience and creativity in the face of adversity.

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