March 8, 2015
A lavish spectacular to honour the two local sisters who were willing to give their live’s for the people of Phuket
When: 4-18th March 2017
Where: Various locations in the Thalang area, north of Phuket including Heroines’ Monument and Wat Pranangsang. Southern Thailand
How to get there: Click here
About the sisters
The sisters were born Khun Chan and Khun Muk, they were later given the posthumous titles by King Rama I, of Thao (lady) Thep Kasattri and Thao (lady) Sri Sunthon, (respectively). For their heroism and deeds in defending the island of Phuket, from the invading Burmese army. According to popular belief, they jointly in 1785, rallied the Siamese troops disguised as male soldiers and in doing so repelled a five-week siege.
The stunning light and sound show
Thao Thepkasattri-Thao Sri Suntorn Festival or Thao Thep Festival, is one of the islands largest and arguably it’s most cultural of events. While it is an actual 2 week festival the really magical stuff is not until around the middle of the fortnight, at the Thalang memorial field, Baan Leang. Phuket.
It is here and for 3 nights starting at 20:30 – 23:00, over 300 actors in local costume play out the epic story of the two sisters, staged in the open air ,with a make-belief backdrop, of a royal palace and a battle field, accompanied by a Light and Sound spectacular. All of which is assured, to assault both your eyes and ears.
What else is happening?
While the high-light of the festival is undoubtedly the Light and Sound Show with its huge historical performance, there are a multitude of cultural and sporting activities, through-out the two week festival. Plus a traditional Thai Fair with rides and games.
In amongst all this fun and games there are also colourful processions from the Thalang District Office to Wat Muang Komarapat and a ceremony to pay homage to the two courageous sisters.
There are normally a number of sporting events held during the 2 weeks, they include; a mountain bike race along a historical route, a takraw tournament, (volleyball played with a rattan ball using the feet, knees, chest and head), a tug o’ war competition, sea boxing and a mini-marathon.
If all that sport has left you feeling tired then why not take a well-earned rest and watch a Thai sword-dancing show. Tradition dictates that this ceremonial dance be performed before combat, the sword dance involves dancers balancing several swords on different parts of their bodies and fighting off rivals.
There is also a number of Nang Talung shadow puppet shows, or you could look in on a performance of traditional lullaby singing or even watch traditional Thai dancers.
Ritualized Dancing and Faith
The whole two weeks are filled with differing cultural events and shows including a genuine Thai boxing ‘wai khru’ ceremony. Wai Khru (ไหว้ครู); a ritualized form of dance meant to pay respect to, or homage to the khru or teacher. It is performed annually at the festival by Thai classical dance institutions as well as before each Muay Thai matches. If you are lucky you may also get a glance at the formal Buddhist Ordination ceremonies that are also taking place during the festival.
This free-entrance festival has been going on in one form or another for many years, while the live historical production has only been enacted since 1980.
All this belief, colour, beauty, noise and sweat is laced with a multitude of shops and stalls selling local handicraft, such as the famous batik, silk and wooden decorative items and of course Thailand would not be Thailand if there was not the ever present aromas of freshly cooked Thai delicacies.
The lighting and sound effects are both vibrant and impressive, with each year’s production eclipsing the efforts of the previous shows. If you are lucky to be in the neighbourhood over this period do drop in you will not be disappointed. While you may not understand all that is going on around you, the mood of the festival and the warmth from the local people will always make you feel welcome
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