October 1, 2015
Lotus Flower Festival Let this ancient festival take you back in time to a quieter more peaceful age in the Kingdoms long history
When: 25 & 26th October 2015
Lotus Flower Festival (Rap Bua or Yon Bua)
Bang Phli (Bang Phli can translate as The Village of Offerings ) is famous for its annual delightful Lotus Flower Festival, which takes place prior to the end of Buddhist Lent known in the kingdom as Wan Ok Phansa.
Dating back to approx. 1498 the festival is a very colourful and equally spiritual event, at its center is the respect and reverence shown to the replica image of ‘Luang Pho To’ Buddha which is first carried on land, beginning the 25th October and finishes on water in a lavishly decorated boat early the next morning. It is the second day which attracts most people.
The water borne parade is along the Samrong Canal that runs near the Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai Temple (The home of the ‘Luang Pho To’ Buddha, recognized as one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand). It is here that the people from the banks of the canal throw Dok Bua or lotus flowers onto the boat. It is a Buddhist belief that Lotuses are symbols of purity and ‘spontaneous’ generation and hence symbolize divine birth.
According to local legend, the image of ‘Luang Pho To’ was first sighted floating in the Samrong Canal by one of three brothers who were escaping the war with the Burmese during the Ayutthaya period. Many villagers along the canal tried to entice the Buddha image to come ashore. None of them were successful until the image reached Bang Phli.
The event also features competitions of folk activities such as lotus arrangement, boat contests and folk entertainment such as Phleng Ruea (Boat Song). The song entails both groups of men and women embarked in separate boats, each participant is equipped with Thai musical instruments; ching, chap, krap and a thon. Singing is performed by a member of each boat and is conducted as if they were courting.
Those whose turn has not come, will sing the chorus. The dialogue of the song is improvised. This event is a must see if you want to immerse yourself in Thai culture, if you are lucky to witness the song, try closing your eyes for a few seconds and let your mind wiz you back in history to a time when life was lived at a far slower pace.