March 10, 2016
The fair is to celebrate that two opposing armies did not spill each other’s blood and whose alliance kept both Kingdoms free from Burmese occupation
Phrathat Si Song Rak Fair (งานนมัสการพระธาตุศรีสองรัก)
When: Annually usually late April – early May (The full moon day of the 6th lunar month)
Where: Wat Phra That Si Song Rak Dan Sai district Loei. Northeastern Thailand
This fair is to celebrate the age old bond, between the Thai people of Northern Loei and their boarder kin of southern Lao, it is in the main a spiritual event combined with a great deal of colour and pageantry.
The spiritual element is centered around cleaning of the Buddha images, plus a quiet and respectful lighting candle ceremony, combined with a more ancient ceremony, believed to be a variant of fertility rites, that includes making offerings, to the spirits, in particular to “Phaya Thaen”, the god of rain and Phosop the goddess of rice, to ask for both the much needed rain and a bountiful harvest.
See more in our post how Thai farmers are returning to this Thai Goddess, in their fight to feed their families.
The less spiritual side to the proceedings include a lovely candlelight procession, and the launch of a mass of small bamboo rockets. Plus a horde of vendors selling unique handicrafts from the local area.
Wat Phra That Si Song Rak
The whole fair is centered around and within the grounds of Wat Phra That Si Song Rak, with its 30 meter-high Chedi. Built in 1560 and located on a hill on the border of the former Kingdoms of Ayutthaya and Lang Xang (present day Lao).
The Wat similar in style to those found in Laos, was built as a monument to the resolve of the kings of these two kingdoms, who agreed not to invade each other’s territory and to join forces against the invading Burmese armies.
The wat is a focal point of this event which always draws many thousands of people from all over the region and from neighboring Lao. Local residents and many social and educational institutions offer simple but colourful ‘Ton Puoeng’ to the Wat Monks.
These inexpensive but lovingly made sacred offerings are unique to the festival, which are placed all around the temple forming a colourful wall, which forms the perfect backdrop for the many people who come to make merit, dressed in their traditional local attire.
Ton Puoeng are shaped in a standing triangle structure made of bamboo and banana trunk, to which are added hand-made yellow wax flowers. While it is a normal practice of merit making, to give candle wax to monks, in this festival it takes on a deeper meaning as the temple is home to a Wax figure of the original founder of the Temple.
A word of warning: It is important not to offer any red-colored items to the temple or to dress in red when you visit, as this is regarded as invoking bad luck. The colour red is associated with blood, which the people are still proud to state……. was not spilt by the two neighbouring armies.
For more contact: Dan Sai district Tel. 0-4289-1266 TAT Loei office Tel. +66 4281 2812
This same small backwater of a town is also host to the worldwide renown Phi Ta Khon Festival (also spelled Pee Ta Khon (ผีตาโขน), sometimes known as the Ghost Festival)
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