Young shaven-headed boys wearing makeup and brightly coloured sequinned robes are ordained as Buddhist novices in Mae Hong Son, northern Thailand.

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Two boys await their Buddhist novice ordination ceremony in Mae Hong Son, ThailandTaylor Weidman/Getty Images

The Poy Sang Long (Festival of the Crystal Sons) is a traditional rite of passage held every year among the Shan, or Tai Yai, people of Myanmar and northern Thailand.

The ceremony goes on for three days. First, the boys' heads and eyebrows are shaved by their parents or other relatives. Then they are made up and dressed in colourful finery, transforming them into "Jewelled Princes" in imitation of Lord Buddha.

For the next three days, the boys are carried everywhere – they are only allowed to touch the ground inside a temple or at home.

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A Tai Yai boy has make-up applied by a relative early in the morning of his ordinationTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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A mother does her son's make-up before he is ordained as a Buddhist monkTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Parents fix their son's ceremonial robesTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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A relative fixes a Tai Yai boy's ceremonial hat before he is ordained as a Buddhist monkTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Two Tai Yai boys chat while waiting for their ordination ceremonyTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Novices are carried during a procession in Mae Hong Son, ThailandTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Tai Yai novices are carried during the processionTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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A Tai Yai boy prays during his ordination ceremonyTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Tai Yai youth take a break in the shade during their ordination processTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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A young boy adjusts his clothing in the heat during the processionTaylor Weidman/Getty Images

On the third day the boys are divested of all their finery and dressed in the simple saffron robes of a Buddhist monk. They enter the monastery and are expected to remain there for at least a week, sometimes many years.

It is believed that the boys and their parents will gain favour from going through this process.

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A Tai Yai boy is wrapped in a robe by a senior monk during his ordination ceremonyTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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A novice monk has his eyebrows shaved after the ordination ceremonyTaylor Weidman/Getty Images
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Novice monks pray during their ordination ceremonyTaylor Weidman/Getty Images