Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Thailand’s Khao Phansa Festival 2017

06 Jul 2017
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One of the most charming festivals celebrated in Thailand is Khao Phansa, or Buddhist Lent Day which marks the official start of the rainy season. It also marks the period when monks traditionally retreat to their temples for a three month period of study and meditation.

Khao Phansa day itself is a day of special celebration and is held on full moon of the eighth lunar month which this year falls on 9 July. But many of the celebrations to mark the festival will take place over several days from 1 to 10 July.

Here’s a rundown of what’s on during Khao Phansa 2017 and where:

Central Region

Chai Nat Long-tailed Boat Race

Date: 30 June – 9 July 2017

Venue: In front of Wat Phraya Tak and the City Hall, Mueang district, Chai Nat province

The long-tailed boat race takes place annually in Chai Nat province as a local way of celebrating Khao Phansa. This is the year’s main series of long-tailed boat races. Other activities for visitors include exhibition booths, stalls selling local products and handicrafts and a food fair with tasty treats.

Suan Phueng Candle Festival

Date: 1-9 July 2017

Venue: In front of Chat Pa Wai Tambon Administration Office, Suan Phueng, Ratchaburi

Highlights include a beautiful and creative floral floats competition, a parade of wax candles from several temples in the area and a fascinating exhibition that tells everyone about Buddhism and Khao Phansa festival. Visitors can also take part in merit-making activities which allow them to enjoy a unique first-hand experience of a local event and feel a closer connection with Thai culture.

Candle Festival in Kanchanaburi

Date: 7 July 2017

Venue: In front of City Hall of Kanchanaburi; Wat Tha Khanun in Thong Pha Phum district; Wat Nong Krathum in Bo Phloi district

Haui Krachao district in Kanchanaburi has its own unique celebrations to mark the beginning of the Buddhist Lent. Visitors can see the wax candle procession and contest, a Miss Candle contest and visit booths selling local and agricultural products. Also, Wat Tha Khanun in the Thong Pha Phum district will be the major venue for Buddhist followers to join merit-making activities such as offering food to monks. In the Bo Phloi district, there will be colourful parades taking the wax candles to present to Wat Nong Krathum.

Ayutthaya Aquatic Phansa Festival

Date: 8 July 2017

Venue: Lad Chado market, Ayutthaya

The ancient capital of Ayutthaya hosts very memorable Khao Phansa celebrations, as the candles are taken to the local temples in more than 200 colourful boats that float down the city’s ancient Lad Chado canal. Visitors can also enjoy a taste of rural life, beauty pageants, and local games.

Suphanburi Khao Phansa Candles Procession

Date: 8-10 July 2017

Venue: Wat Pa Laylai Woraviharn, Tambon Rua Yai, Mueang Suphan Buri

Students from local art colleges compete to put on the most impressive candle displays. There are huge sculptures depicting creatures and heroes from Thai myth and these are proudly paraded around town. Visitors also enjoy exhibitions about the ways of life of the local tribal people and colourful displays of folk dancing.

Saraburi Khao Phansa Festival

Date: 7-9 July 2017

Venue: Wat Phra Putthabat Ratchaworamahaviharn, Saraburi

During Khao Phansa in Saraburi, people visit the local shrine of the Buddha’s Footprint where yellow and white flowers are offered to monks (Tak Bat Dok Mai)as a way of making merit. This has become a big event and now thousands of people join to give alms to the monks as they ascend the steep stairs of the shrine.

Nakhon Sawan Candle Festival

Date: 8-9 July 2017

Venue: Khao Wai Phra Monastery and Wat Khao Mai Den, Tha Nam Oy subdistrict

Khao Wai Phra Monastery and Wat Khao Mai Den arrange more traditional Khao Phansa celebrations with a ceremony to offer candles to the monks and a fun candle decorating contest. There are also exhibitions of fascinating old photos contest and merit making activities.

Sing Buri Flowers Offering Festival

Date: 9-10 July 2017

Venue: Wat Chinda Manee, Phrom Buri district, Sing Buri province

The local people of Sing Buri will prepare five types of flowers together with three incense-sticks and one candle which are tied together and offered to the monks who then present the offerings to the Buddha image in the Ubosot building.  Food and other offerings are also given to the monks in a timeless ceremony that all visitors will find enchanting.

Northeastern Region

Nakhon Ratchasima Candle Procession

Date: 7-8 July 2017

Venue: Several places in Nakhon Ratchasima

Several districts of Nakhon Ratchasima will be holding activities to celebrate this important Buddhist event. Chokchai Candle Festival held at Chokchai Sports Stadium features a candle contest, local cuisine cooking demonstrations, cultural performances and a singing contest. Phimai Candle Festival will celebrate with a wax candle contest, a candle procession and folk performances; while the Mueang, or city district will also present a wax candle contest, a candle parade, and merit making activities which will be held between 7-9 July in front of the City Hall, Mueang district, Nakhon Ratchasima.

Surin Candle Festival

Date: 7-8 July 2017

Venue: In front of Provincial City Hall & Phraya Surin Phakdi Monument

Twelve temples of Surin town put on displays of carved candle wax effigies which are paraded in the streets, accompanied by traditional folk dances performed by locals in their finery. Most impressive is the parade of decorated elephants, which are vehicles for local monks as they parade around the town so people and visitors can give alms and make merit.

Nakhon Phanom Candle Festival

Date: 8-9 July 2017

Venue: Wat Phra That Phanom

The Lao-influenced culture of Nakhon Phanom gives a different twist to the Khao Phansa celebrations. The festival centres on the iconic local pagoda of Wat Phra That Phanom and there is always a procession of exquisitely carved candles to enjoy as well as the Miss Candle Beauty contest where local beauties hope to be named winner.

Ubon Ratchathani International Wax Candle Festival and Wax Candle Procession

Date: 8-9 July 2017

Venue: Ubon Ratchathani City Areas

The International Wax Candle Festival and Wax Candle Procession takes place in Thung Si Mueang Park, Ubon Ratchathani. Teams come from all over the world to compete and the detail on the wax artworks is staggering, with some being colossal in scale. It’s a great place to explore unique local cultures as the locals wear traditional dresses and show off their age-old folk dances.

Roi Et Khao Phansa Festival

Date: 8-9 July 2017

Venue: Somdej Phra Sri Nakarin-Roi Et Park, Roi Et

Highlights include a wax candle contest, a candle parade, Miss Candle contest, and demonstration of candle making. The event takes place at Somdej Phra Sri Nakarin-Roi Et Park and there will be tasty local snacks being sold to revelers.

Northern Region

Lamphun Candle Festival and Wax Candle Contest

Date: 7 July 2017

Venue: Wat Phra That Hariphunchai

The highly-revered Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun province is a remarkable venue to witness Khao Phansa celebrations. There will be wax candle contest with creations made by youth groups and the local people of Lamphun as well as several merit-making activities taking place throughout the event.

Chiang Rai Candle Festival

Date: 9-10 July 2017

Venue: Suan Tung Lae Khom Chiang Rai Park & Chiang Khong district, Chiang Rai

Suan Tung Lae Khom Chiang Rai Park in Mueang district will feature a special religious ceremony in which a wax candle is made and then presented to the temple. There is the chance to join the Vien Tian ceremony in which the temple is circled three times to show respect to the Buddha relics. Meanwhile, Viang Chiang Khong subdistrict in Chiang Khong district will also have wax candle procession, a wax candle decoration contest and a ceremony to present the candles to community temples. There will also be a concert of Lanna music and cultural performances on 9 July.

Nan Candle Festival

Date: 10 July 2017

Venue: Bunyuen Royal Temple, Wiang Sa district, Nan

Visitors can join local people as they offer food to the monks in the morning. Later in the day, they can join the almsgiving of candles to the temple and take part in other merit-making activities that offer insight into the culture of Thai Buddhism.