August 31, 2016
Sat Thai – Kluai Khai Fair When the people of this little known province celebrate the return of the dead with the humble banana
When: 16 – 25th October 2016 (Actual Dates to be Confirmed)
Where: Kamphaeng Phet North Central Thailand
This is possibly one of the Kingdoms least known provinces, sitting as it does in upper Central Thailand, its name literally means the “diamond wall” and refers to the city’s ancient defenses. Apart from its past defense of the Sukhothai Kingdom, the province is famous for a small, round, sweet and aromatic banana variety called “egg bananas” (Thai: kluai khai or mini banana).
This annual event is a celebration of this locally grown fruit, the end of Buddhist Lent and the nationwide celebration of Sat Thai, it features a number of banana contests and competitions on the making of Krayasat. The desert (Thai: กระยาสารท; food for the Sat Rite), is normally prepared for Buddhist religious events and is most commonly served during the Festival of Offerings to the Dead, or Sat Rite.
Krayasat is made from a combination of peanuts, sugar cane, sticky rice, sesame, and coconut, cooked into a sticky paste and then wrapped with a banana leaf. (Krayasat is similar in appearance to a granola bar, but with a sweeter taste). In this province the sweat is traditionally accompanied by kluai khai.
The festival starts in the morning of the waxing moon of the 10th lunar month (in the Thai calendar), with alms-giving and merit making activities, normally scheduled to take place at Phra Borom That Royal Temple in Nakhon chum sub-district, Mueang district. In the evening, highlights will include a spectacular procession of floats gloriously decorated with a multitude of kluai khai .
Other activities during the normal nine day festival include competitions for the best banana-decorated floats, exhibition of banana gardens, light and sound presentation on the legend of province, Krayasart-making competition, banana beauty queen contest, exhibition of rare-breed animals, traditional handicraft goods of the province, plus a range of concerts and stage performances, in both traditional and modern performing arts, along with a horde of fun-filled activities. Of course this would not be Thailand if there was not a huge array of stalls selling a vast collection of traditional local food and drinks.
Did you know?
There are around 1000 varieties of bananas. With colour variations of blue, orange or red, some are round, and a few are as big as your arm. In Thailand bananas aren’t only eaten fresh, they’re barbecued, deep-fried and sun-dried, their flowers are also used in salads, they’re even made into beer and wine.
Ghost Festivals across the Kingdom
Sart Thai is celebrated across the kingdom and goes by many names; In the South of Thailand the festival is known as งานบุญเดือนสิบ (ngan boon duan sib) or Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (ประเพณีเทศกาลเดือนสิบ). In Isaan it is called การทำบุญแจกข้าว (gan tam boon jag khao), this Isaan festival should not be confused with Phi Ta Khon, the most common name for the festival held Loei province Northeast Thailand, which takes place over three days, some-time between June and July. The Khmer descendents of Isaan also have their own festival; San Don Ta Festival, which takes place late September-early October 2016 and which is also a reminder of the Killing Fields of Cambodia. While in Central Thailand, the festival is known as the Tiggkrahad Festival, (also known as Thing Krachat งานเทศกาลทิ้งกระจาด).
There are also a number of uniquely ethnic festivals that also contain the same principles of praying to dead relatives, they include the Mon people who celebrate, The Mon Floating Boat Festival and their neighbours in Kanchanaburi, the Karen people who have their festival of Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong. While the Yong people of Lamphun Province, Northern Thailand have their event, the Salak Yom Festival.
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