July 31, 2016
Festivals and special events across Thailand in September 2017
September in Thailand is possibly the quietest month in the year for festivals, but that said it is still has so much to offer from the sporting events, you can take part in, to those best left to others. The Kingdom is also awash with ancient spiritual events that in some cases celebrate the dead as they return to this realm to visit their relatives. Listed here are 24 of the biggest festivals across Thailand
For more on what’s happening each month click on any of the following
THE SALAK YOM FESTIVAL: TREES OF GIFTS
When: 15 – 16 September 2016
The Salak Yom festival is a unique annual event among the ethnic Yong of Lamphun Province and is a local variation of a northern Thai Buddhist ritual held in the tenth month of the lunar calendar (September to October) known as Kuay Salak or Salakapat.
This festival as with so many others in the Kingdom at this time of the year (the tenth lunar month or twelfth month of the Northern calendar), is when the spirits of the dead are believed to return to earth in order to receive the merit and offerings given by their descendants.
Trees of Gifts
The Salak Yom ceremony features the presentation of elaborately decorated “trees of gifts” to the Buddhist monks and novices of the local temples, in return for merit and blessings for the donors. The centerpiece of the ritual is a tall bamboo pole, sometimes as high as ten metres, decorated with thousands of brightly coloured, tufted rods called may haew – also made out of bamboo.
The gifts hung on the upper part of the tree comprise offerings for the monks, such as alms bowls, robes, blankets, palm leaf manuscript holders, dried foodstuffs, and money. The lower half of the tree is decorated with offerings intended for the spirits of the deceased, such as clothing, cigarettes, and accessories; chosen according to the preferences of departed family members.
For more on this unique festival see our post
Moon Festival – Moon Cake Festival
While the Moon Festival – Moon Cake Festival originates from China the event is celebrated through-out Thailand’s Chinese communities.The Festival also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, takes place at the full moon of the eighth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is when the moon is said to be at its fullest and roundest – the so-called harvest moon and marks the end of the harvest period when family and friends gather to celebrate a time of plenty.
The ancient Chinese believed in rejuvenation being associated with the moon and water.
When: 4th October 2017
Where: Across Thailand
According to traditional Chinese legend, a beautiful girl named Chang E worked in the Jade Emperor’s palace in the kingdom of heaven, an idyllic place where people lived and worked amongst the immortals. One day Chang E angered the Jade Emperor (not known for forgiveness) when she accidentally broke a porcelain jar, and in his anger he banished her to Earth.
For more on the legend of Chang E and moon cakes Moon Festival – Moon Cake Festival.
The Por Tor Festival or as it is more commonly known the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ (also known as ‘Sart Duan Sib’) is a time for the Chinese-Thai communities to pay respect to those that have passed on and who are presently stuck in Hell
When: Full moon of the seventh lunar month of the Chinese lunar calendar (21st Aug – 27th Sept 2016)
Where: Through-out Thailand
The annual Por Tor Festival, known in Southeast Asia as the “Hungry Ghost Festival” is celebrated through-out Thailand with the biggest festivals held in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai (for details of major dates and locations of the events in Phuket click here.
The festival begins on the 15th day of the seventh waxing moon according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is an important merit-making occasion for the Thai-Chinese people, who many believe that the spirits of their ancestors return to visit their relatives once the gates of hell are opened and the spirits of hungry ghosts are allowed to roam the earth.
At the heart of the festival is the belief that families of the living can help ease the suffering of the spirits of deceased relatives who were perhaps less than pure in heart and in their actions during their lifetime and are now trapped in any one of the 18 layers of hell, found in Buddhism and traditional Chinese folk religion.
It’s also a time to honour those lost souls set adrift in the beyond who might have died suddenly or far from home, or otherwise weren’t given a proper passage from life to death.
During the festival believers offer food including fruits and colourful desserts, which along with candles and paper money are placed at altars not only for their own ancestors but also to honour the spirits who have no living family to visit.
For more on this festival and the subtle differences with other festivals that mark the same return of spirits from another world click here
Kaeng Hin Phoeng White-water Rafting Festival
When: 1 June – 31 October 2016
Where: Kaeng Hin Phoeng, Prachinburi Eastern Thailand
White-water Rafting at Kaeng Hin Phoeng Festival is an annual event and during the rainy season, the water level is practically high, providing a faster flow, cleaner rapids, and generally less hazardous conditions. Through-out the event, there are a number of rafting competition.
Sukhothai Mini-Light and Sound show
When: 7th September 2017
Where: Sukhothai. Lower Northern Thailand
The former Thai capital city of Sukhothai will once again present a series of the mini-light and sound presentation with one show per month scheduled between April and September 2017. The show consists of classical performances and fireworks display.
The show takes place at Wat Sa Si inside Sukhothai Historical Park and starts at 19:30 Hrs. on Friday 7 April, 5 May, 2 June, 7 July, 7 September and 1 September. There will also be a special performance on 12 August which marks Thailand’s national Mother’s Day. Best of all its FREE.
TAT Sukhothai Office is also encouraging tourists to visit Rim Yom market, in the Kong Krailat district of the province, which is open on every first Friday and Saturday of the month. Here visitors can sample a wide variety of local dishes and enjoy shopping for some of the local products of Sukhothai.
Sukhothai, which literally means “dawn of happiness”, is located 439.7 km north of Bangkok or about four-five hours by car or 1 hour 15 minutes by air.
Memorial Day of Koh Si Chang
When: 19 – 20 September 2016
Where: Phra Chuthathut Ratchatha, Koh Sichang district, Chonburi province. Eastern Thailand
Now in its 20th year this is one of the most important annual events to hit this quiet island that sits between Bangkok and Pattayathe day celebrates the birth date of King Rama V who was born on 20th September 1853, who was later to initiate the construction of a royal summer palace, named “Phra Chuthathut Palace” (Thai: พระจุฑาธุชราชฐาน) after his son who was born on this island. The royal residence was abandoned in 1893 after the French occupied the island during a conflict with Thailand over control of neighboring Laos. In 1900, the palace was torn down and reassembled in Bangkok, where it is now named Vimanmek Palace.
The event activities include; Worshiping King Rama V, Thai traditional outfit contest, a range of art and cultural performances, plus a tradional Thai fair and a light and sound show
For more information: Koh Si Chang Municipal District Tel. +66 3821 6532 Tourism Authority of Thailand, Pattaya office Tel. +66 3842 7667, +66 3842 8750
Hari Raya Haji (also known as Eid al-Adha)
When: 12th September 2016
Where: Across the country
This Muslim festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the last month of the Islamic Calendar. (See below for more on how the day is chosen). Hari Raya Haji is considered one of the two most important celebrations for Muslims, the other being Hari Raya Aidilfitri – the day that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of dawn-to-sunset fasting.
The day is celebrated to commemorate the day Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but was told by God to kill an animal instead. The celebration symbolizes Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.
Muslims around the world celebrate this day with great pomp and ceremony; celebrations begin with a special prayer in mosques and open-air areas. Muslim families and communities across the Kingdom will gather to celebrate with prayers, feasts and festivals. Mosques are decorated with bright lights and other decorations, the day is also a time when Muslim people will wear new clothes and exchange gifts, while the night time is full of the noise of fire crackers.
How the exact date is chosen
The day is set when a new moon is sighted – but there is no exact definition of what this means. There is little agreement within the faith about whether the moon must be spotted with the naked eye and whether it should be seen in the country where the celebrations are happening. The result of the varying interpretations of the rule is that the date falls on a different day depending on what sect, mosque or region you are in.
River Kwai International Half Marathon 2016
When: 11 September, 2016
Where: River Kwai Village Hotel, Kanchanaburi Western Thailand
The annual River Kwai International Half Marathon is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2016 and to mark the occasion, organisers are staging an exclusive new 35 km road race.
The one-day event has grown massively in popularity year on year meaning that there has had to be a cap on the number of runners in the 2016 event. There will be only 4,000 spaces in total open to runners due to space and policing restrictions.
The 35km Ultra-Half Marathon has 1,500 spaces and costs 800 Baht to enter while the 21km half marathon costs 800 Baht for one of the 2,000 spaces. The 10km Quarter Marathon costs 500 Baht to enter and there are 500 spaces.
All entry fees include breakfast and refreshments and a medal for finishing. There is also a finishers’ shirt for all runners in the 35km and 21 km races. The top-five winners of each age group will receive a commemorative trophy
The River Kwai International half marathon’s start and finish line will be in front of River Kwai Village Hotel. Runners are asked to be there before 10.00 a.m on Saturday, 11 September.
For more information, please contact: Amazing Field Tel: +66 (0) 2277 6670 http://www.gotorace.com/event/river-kwai-half-marathon-2016
Phuket Tasty Fest 2016
When: 16.00 – 22.00 9 -11th September 2016
Where: Dragon Square, Thalang Road Phuket
The Tasty Fest will include live cooking demonstrations, as well as celebrity chefs creating their own dishes with local Phuket ingredients.
A bus service to reach the event will be available at Limelight Avenue, the dragon statue in Queen Sirikit Park, Phuket Municipality, Wat Klang and opposite the Vanich Plaza building.
Festival of Offerings to the Dead (Sart Day) วันสาทรไทย
When: Annualy around the 1st waning-moon night to the 15th waning-moon night in the 10th Lunar month
Where: Across the Kingdom
Offering food to the dead is a common practice in Asia, while not widely known out-side of Thailand and at times confused with the more famous Chinese ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’, (known to Thai’s as the Por Tor Festival), this purely Thai occasion is celebrated across the Kingdom, but is known by different names in the differing provinces.
For centuries this time of year is when the crops are at their most bountiful, it is also when families to come together, to celebrate the return of deceased to this world, so they can feast with their living relatives. These wondering spirits are only allowed to visit their relatives once each year and only for a short while, having to return to from where they came, before sunrise of the 15th day.
To feed their dead relatives and other spirits that they are not related to, Thai people will visit their local temple to make Merit and will invite these spirits to dine with them in their homes.
Thai people have a strong belief in ghosts and the spirit world, especially in ‘Preta’ also known as Praet, Peta and “Hungry ghost”, are one of the six modes of existence in the ‘Wheel of Life’.
For more on this festival see our post Walking Dead Sart Day
The Akha Swing Festival
When: End of August until the beginning of September
Where: The mountains of Chaing Rai Northern Thailand
The 80,000 or so Akha people who now reside in the mountains of northern Thailand and are now known colloquially as one of Thailand’s ‘Hill Tribes’ once had their own Kingdom in what is now China, but over centuries of persecution, slavery and prejudice (the latter is still evident today) they find themselves still fighting to keep their own unique identity.
Swinging for fun and the dead
Perhaps the most important annual festival for the Akha people is commonly known as the Swing Festival. The four-day festival comes in late-August and is known by the hill tribe people as, Yehkuja, (or Loa Cher Bee Err) which loosely translates as “eating bitter rice”, a phrase which is believed to be a references the previous year’s dwindling rice supply and incorporates the hope that the expected rains will soon water the newly planted rice crop.
Festival activities include ritual offerings to the family ancestral spirits at the ancestral altar in a corner of the women’s side of the house. (Akha life is segregated by gender both in the home and in common areas). The swing festival is particularly important for Akha women, who eagerly wait the opportunity to wear the clothing and the ornaments they have spent all year making and to show, that they are becoming older and of marriageable age.
For more on this festival and the Akha ‘Hill Tribes People’ click here
King of the Mountain 2016
When: 4 September, 2016
Where: Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club Phuket
The King of the Mountain 2016 is a fun run that will be taking place on 4 September, 2016 at Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club Phuket. The event is being organised to meet the huge demand among sports-loving travellers and locals for marathons and runs and as a way of boosting sport tourism in Thailand.
The one-day King of the Mountain event takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and will consist of a trail and endurance run over three distances: 4 km, 8km or 15km. The entry fees are 450 Baht for the 15km race, 350 Baht for the 8km race and 250 Baht for the 4km race. The first male and female winners in the 15km race will receive prize money of 5,000 Baht and there will be trophies for the top three runners in each distance. For more information, contact: Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club Phuket Tel: +66 (0) 76 336 000
From: 10th September (10:00-22:00)
Where: National Stadium BTS Station Bangkok (สนามกีฬาแห่
3rd Ganesha Festival in Bangkok is aimed to celebrate annual Ganesha Chaturthi festival and promote historical social & cultural relations between India and Thailand. This year, the festival will be dedicated to the 70th anniversary celebrations of His Majesty the King’s accession to the throne. It is expected more than 10,000 people will join the largest Ganehsa festival in the heart of Bangkok. For more details and up-to-date information about Ganesha Festival events: www.vhpthailand.org
คเนศจตุรถีครั้งที่3 ประจำปี พ.ศ.2559 ณ ลานอเนกประสงค์ สนามกีฬาแห่งชาติ (ตรงกับสถานีรถไฟฟ้าสนามกีฬ
Trang Roast Pork Festival (งานเทศกาลหมูย่างจังหวัดตรัง)
When: 4 September 2016
Where: Near to the statue of King Rama V. Muang District Trang Southern Thailand
If you love you pork crispy and juicy then head down to this annual event which celebrates the provinces special recipe. The signature delicious taste is due to a process by which the pig is infused with herbs then roasted whole on a specially made grill. There will be gorgeous fancy parades from local educational institutions, demonstrations of the unique Trang way of preparing and cooking roast pork, a roast pork eating contest, local cultural performances and a host of stalls selling local handicrafts and food. If you are lucky to be there do try the equally famous Trang cake, these frosting-free cakes have a special characteristic in that the texture is similar to kanom kha Plai, in which Rice Flour is mixed with Toddy Palm and Shredded Coconut and come in many flavours, including orange, coffee and coconut.
International Herb Expo 2016
When: 31 August – 4 September, 2016
Where: Hall 6-8, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi
The annual 13th International Herb Expo 2016 will this year take place from 31 August – 4 September. Under the banner “Thailand herbs, Thailand’s economy, Thailand’s future” the expo will showcase Thai herbs to the world and provide a forum for health professionals, as well as alternative medicine practitioners to meet and network.
The Ministry of Public Health and the Department for the Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicines are joining with the private sector to invite exhibitors to show and encourage the use of Thai herbs by the general public for health reasons.
During the Thai Herb Expo, there will be talks and workshops about Thai and Chinese traditional medicines, alternative medicines and the use of herbs and plants in healing. This is also a great chance for herb growers and buyers from ASEAN and beyond to make deals and sign contracts. Supplementary consumers such as the cosmetic, animal feed and spa industry will also benefit from this chance to share knowledge. In addition, talks and discussions will look at ways to improve and enhance supply capacity of herbs and vital plants.
Ultimately, the aim of the expo is to take Thailand’s traditional medicine into the mainstream and benefit people’s health with wisdom that has been built up over centuries. This will help to create jobs and boost national income.
For information contact visit: natherbexpo.dtam.moph.go.th
Ministry of Public Health Nonthaburi
Tel: +66 (0) 2 149 5696-7, +66 (0) 2 591 7007
Rafting in Pai River
When: 1 July – 31 December 2016
Where: Pai River Mae Hong Son Northern Thailand
Thailand has a number of provinces which can offer the thrill seeker the chance to take what would seem to most as a hair raising fall into the unknown. Rapids on the river vary from class I to class V on the International Scale of River Difficulty and everything in between, along distance of 50 kilometers. The Pai River offers a scenic view of mountain forest and many choose to camp along the quiet river banks.
Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival
When: held on the full moon day of the ninth lunar month (17th Sept 2016)
Where: Ratchaburi or Rat Buri Western Thailand.
Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival (ประเพณีกินข้าวห่อ หรือ อั๊งหมี่ทอง), is a spiritual festival of the Karen people living in this western province of the Kingdom. While The Karen of Thailand mostly live in the more remote mountainous areas due west of Chiang Mai in the Mae Hong Son Province, in Ratchaburi 1.1% of the population are members of what is coloqually termed as Hill Tribes, mostly Karen with most living near the border to neighbouring Myanmar
For the local Karen people this annual festival is a time to appease the demons, as they believe that the ninth lunar month is an ominous time when ghosts and evil entities hunt and eat “Klar”, the spirit of people.
For more on this festival and the Karen people click on our post
Long Boat Racing Festival Saraburi Province
When: 24 – 25th September 2016
The event is also known as Pa Sak Boat Racing Festival and you chance to witness a multitude of long boats taking part over the two day festival. There are 3 categories from the formidable 55 crew craft, to the smaller but equally impressive 30 oarsmen down to the nippy 12 crew mini boats.
Contact Details: Sao Hai District OfficeTel. +66 3639 1182, +66 3639 1246: TAT Lopburi Office Tel. +66 3642 2768-9
For more on the history of Long Boat Racing and other venues from July to November see our post
Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month (ประเพณีเทศกาลเดือนสิบ)
When: Annualy on the 1st waning-moon night to the 15th waning-moon night in the 10th Lunar month
Where: Nakhon Si Thammarat. Southern Thailand
This ancient festival (also known as the Bun Festival and Red Cross Fair or Tham Bun Duean Sip งานเทศกาลทำบุญเดือนสิบ), is a thanks giving custom and is a time for the Thai people of this province to make merit and give offerings to the monks, spirits such as the Rice Goddess Mae Posop and deceased relatives. While this time of the year, prior to the new harvest is celebrated across the country and goes by many different names, here in the southern provinces the event is regarded as one of the most important festivals of the year, no more so than in Nakhon Si Thammarat. where the tradition has evolved into possibly the biggest festival of its kind in the Kingdom.
For more on this Festival see our post
Kek River Rafting Festival
When: 1 July – 31 October 2016
Where: Phitsanulok. North Central Thailand Bordering Laos
Last month the same festival took on the name Kaengsong coffee tasting and Kek river white water rafting festival, to raise awareness of Phitsanulok as the home of ‘Kaengsong’ arabica coffee, while promoting the Khek River as the country’s premier white water rafting river, especially during the rainy season which lasts from May to October. While the coffee has been dropped, (it can still be found all over the province), the river still remains one of the top-five white water rafting routes in Thailand. The route covers a distance of 8 km along the scenic view and it takes about 2-3 hours to navigate. This river has many steep turns and thrilling rapids to keep adrenalin levels up. The higher water levels during the rainy season can promise moderate to extreme level of excitement and adventure – a must for any rafting enthusiast.
San Don Ta Festival
When: 30 September – 1 October 2016
Where: Phraya Krai Phakdi Sinakorn Lamduan Park in Khu Khan District, Si Sa Ket Province Eastern Thailand
The two day festival of San Don Ta is a time when the Khmer descendents of this province, pay homage to their dead ancestors.
The Festival is known as ‘Ancestors’ Day (Pchum Ben)’ or the Khmer Festival of the Dead, in neighbouring Cambodia. This annual event is actually the culmination of a fifteen-day observance called Dak Ben, throughout which Khmer people are encouraged to visit at least seven pagodas to make offerings to dead ancestors and light candles to guide the spirits of the dead to these offerings. The first fourteen days are called Kan Ben (“observed celebration”); the 15th day is called Brochum Ben or Pchum Ben Day. During Kan Ben, people give Buddhist monks gifts of food and candles. At night Buddhist monks recite a protective prayer; it is possibly the biggest annual event on the Khmer calendar
Observant Khmers will also throw a rice-sesame seed mixture onto temple grounds, called Bai Ben which is left for lost souls or those who have no relatives alive to send offerings. This observance helps feed the spirits of the ancestors who roam the world on Pchum Ben and are consequently hungry from not having eaten all year.
The event includes the ancestor- offering parade, featuring people in their individual traditional attire, accompanied by traditional (some would call Isan) music. There are also a number of contests, demonstrations and folk art performances and of course a huge range of local food, drink and handicrafts to feast upon.
For more on the festival including other festivals that are similar in nature see our post
Phichit Boat Racing Festival
When: 3 – 4 September 2016
Where: Nan River in front of Tha Luang Temple, Phichit province Central Thailand
Phichit (พิจิตร) lies 330 km due north of Bangkok and the city of the same name is loosely translated as the “beautiful city” The city is the perfect back drop to this annual event that takes place on what many would describe as one of the most scenic regions in Thailand
During the festival, there are also the boat procession, Miss beautiful lady contest, cultural performances and selling booths of local products.
Preceding the King’s Cup Long-Boat Race there is a colourful boat processions on the Nan River in front of the Tha Luang Pier and temple, featuring a myriad of boats from all those taking part in the competitions. The event also features various kinds of cultural shows, a beauty pageant, music performances as well as an OTOP Fair and stalls selling a variety of local product.
Contact details: TAT Chiang Rai Office +66 5371 7433, +66 5374 4674-5
For more on the history of Long Boat Racing and other venues from July to November see our post
Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance and Music
When: September 8th – October 2016
Where: Thailand Cultural Center, Bangkok
Bangkok’s 18th International Festival of Dance and Music is as always is a star-studded delight filled to the brink with a whole range of genres. It is a festival that once again reaffirms Bangkok’s place as a cultural capital. The program includes classical concerts, operas, classical ballets, contemporary and folk dances, jazz and the occasional less common genres of music and dance.
Royal Trophy Nan Boat Races
When: September and October 2016
This is possibly the Kingdoms biggest Long Boat festival with usually around 200 boats competing, from over 100 communities. Each boat can accommodate up to 60 oarsmen, all dressed in the same racing teams uniform, in a double row, they make for an explosion of colour.
The colourfully-painted boats made from whole tree trunks and adorned with an elaborately-crafted naga head at the prow, are once again united with the Nan River in this annual event, that is touched by the history of the once ancient Northern Kingdom of Lanna and makes for a fun filled, gloriously colourful, spectacle
Cha-am Feast Fish Flock Shellfish Festival
When: September 2016
Where: Cha Am Beach, Phetchaburi. Wetsern/central Thailand
Riding in the wake of the neighbouring, annual Hua Hin Food Festival, comes the more slippery, Cha Am fresh seafood festival (you try saying the official name, fast a few times). The event is held, yearly, on the viewing terrace of Cha-am beach in Phetchaburi (located 160 km south to Bangkok). There are a mass of stalls offering the best sea food and fishes prepared by chefs from the leading hotels of the city. The event is open daily between 05.00 pm and 10.00 pm.
Apart from the delicious selection of food, other delights included in the festival are various evening entertainment programs, including live music, squid fishing, A traditional Thai fair with fairground rides and entertainment stalls, plus stalls selling a variety of local goods from clothes and plants, to accessories and OTOP products.
The Pomelo festival
The Pomelo festival in Chai Nat, central Thailand, is a quaint rural festival that celebrates the provinces long history with the pomelo fruit
When: Mid September TBA
Where: In front of Chai Nat Provincial Hall, Muang district, Chai Nat province. Central Thailand
Apart from its long history, Chainat is famous for its many handicrafts, including basketry, sculpture, weaving, as well as ceramics and for its sweet tasting ‘Khao Taeng Kwa’ Pomelo, which is believed to have been grown in the area for over 100 years. The fruit tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit, though the typical pomelo is much larger than the grapefruit. It has none, or very little, of the common grapefruit’s bitterness. It is usually pale green to yellow when ripe, with sweet white (or, more rarely, pink or red) flesh and very thick rind pith.
For more on this festival see our post
The Mon Floating Boat Festival
It is in this rural village that the Mon people annually pay respect to their dead ancestors by setting adrift a boat laden with food
When: The Last weekend of September.
In Thailand’s most (Central) western province of Kanchanaburi (the province is known for the Bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway), lies the sleepy Thai-Myanmar border district of Sangkhla Buri.
Best known for The Uttamanusorn Bridge or “Saphan Mon”, it is Thailand’s longest wooden bridge and the second longest bridge of its kind in the world. Measuring over 400 meters, the handmade footbridge looks as if it was constructed in a bygone age, but in reality it was only built by the local Mon People in the 1980’s, to both span the Song Kalia river to the Mon village of Wang Kha (no not a made up name) and to honour the local Abbot Luang Por Uttama, who provided them sanctuary as they fled the fighting in Myanmar and when they lost their homes, in the old town of Sangkhlaburi, as it disappeared in 1984 consumed by the waters of the Khao Laem Dam. The bridge is officially named the Uttamanusorn Bridge in honour of the abbot.
The annual event sees Mon communities towing a full-sized, hand-crafted boat laden with food to the river. The food is left to slate the appetites of the departed. Once a private and deeply religious ritual, today the festival brings in much-needed tourist revenue to this quiet back water.
It’s a ritual that dates back to the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom (1369-1539) and marks the journey of a high-ranking monk and several Buddhist pilgrims across the Bay of Bengal to fetch a set of Buddhist scriptures in Sri Lanka. On their return trip, one boat capsized in rough seas and the pilgrims inside it drowned. The Floating Boat Festival not only commemorates departed Mon pilgrims but also banishes evil and brings luck to those still living.
For more on this festival see our post
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