September 2, 2016
Phon Lak Phra Festival or khaeng poen larg pra (แข่งโพนลากพระ)
When: 15 – 16 October 2016
Where: The Provincial Hall and Saen suk lam pam Beach Amphoe Muang Phatthalung Province Southern Thailand
Thailand is awash with festivals at this time of year as the Kingdom celebrates the end of Buddhist Lent; Wan Khao Phansa (16th October 2016). It’s possibly the most important religious day in the Thai calendar, celebrating as it does the return of Lord Buddha, after he spent time preaching to His Mother in the Tavatimsa Heaven. For the people of this southern province it is a time to pray and play as it holds it’s most important annual event to commemorate Wan Ok Phansa Day.
Prior to 1988 each of this provinces many temples would relay to its followers that the three month period of lent had finished, by setting out decorated pedestals, lighting incense and by beating a poen (โพน), a southern musical instrument shaped like a barrel drum. Each temple would then form its own procession accompanied, by its own drum beaters and its very own Buddha image.
When two processions meet, they would offer a friendly challenge on who could knock out the best tune; this tradition has evolved to become a grand festival of Phatthalung, where the majority of temples will parade their own drummers in one grand procession
The event includes drum competitions of participating temples from through-out the province, dramatic arts, boat procession contest, folk plays, religious ceremonies, exhibitions, and culture demonstrations featuring the ethnicity of Phatthalung and nearby provinces; such as reed mat making and coconut shell products. There are also a range of water sports on Lam Pam Lake; including boat races and water boxing. Plus it’s your chance to try the local, southern food delicacies from all across the region.
Other festivals across Thailand celebrating the end of Lent
In Surat Thani also in the south of Thailand the people celebrate this most auspicious occasion with their very own festival of Chak Phra Phum Pha Pa. The north has its spiritual Tak Bat Devo Festival, featuring hundreds of Buddhist monks. There is another two festivals similar to this event; Lak Phra and Tak Bat Thewo which is actually two events spread over two days and held in Songkhla Province. Southern Thailand, plus the far smaller ‘Tak Bat Thewo Rohana Fair‘ Wat Phutthawat in Kalasin Northeast Thailand.
The province of Sakon Nakhon features the amazing Wax Castle possession, while in the north east province of Nakhon Phanom you will find the dazzling Fire Boat Possession, the same region also has the beautiful Light Incense Festival.
Central Thailand offers you the chance to be part of the Lotus Flower Festival and in the Mae Hong Son Province, of North West Thailand you can be part of the uniquely Tai-Yai peoples event, that of the Chong Para Festival. Not forgetting throughout the Kingdom you can witness a whole host of Longboat races and Festivals
The following day across the Kingdom, the 30 day Ritual of Krathin will begin, when monks will be offered new robes.
For more information contact: Phatthalung municipality 0 7461 3291. TAT Hat Yai office phone 0 7423 1055, 0 7423 1055, 0 7423 8518.
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