October 1, 2015
Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival & Long Boat Racing 2016
Where Beauty and grace meets sweat and tears, in North East Thailand
When: 13th – 16thOctober 2016
Where: Sakon Nakhon Province Northeast Thailand
The festival is one of the largest in the Kingdom, falling as it does on the 12th-15th day of waxing moon in October which coincides with the end of Buddhist Lent Wan Ok Phansa (Thai: วันออกพรรษา; literally “the Final Day of the Vassa“) which is on the 16th October 2016. The Wax Castle Festival procession is only on the 14th October but the wax sculptures can be viewed in all their glory the day prior at Ming Mueng sakonnakhon park.
Local Thai sculptors mould and carve bees wax into miniature Buddhist temples and shrines, (wax castles) in order to gain merit, which is believed will determine their future rebirth. Local people also believe that the wax will welcome Lord Buddha, who comes back from the heaven to help all creatures on earth.
Originally, beeswax was given to the monks so as they could make their own candles and light the temples, from this gift the monks moulded and carved the wax into different kinds of flowers and attached them to banana tree trunks, which would in turn be offered to the temples. Gradually over time the offerings became more sophisticated and moulded sculptures were developed into many different shapes, such as castles, temples and shrines. These magnificent and at times massive wax sculptures, are paraded around the city to illustrate the skill of their creators. If you visit the temples in advance of the festival you may be lucky to see the sculptors actually work on these intricate and beautiful works of art.
Long Boat Races
Long Boat Racing is one of Thailand’s oldest traditions and the events have been arranged continuously since the Ayutthaya time (approx. 600 years ago), when they were used to enhance the physical and mental strength of the men folk, as the country was almost continuously at war with its neighbouring countries of Burma, Lao and Cambodia.
This part of the festivities is held at the Nong Han Reservoir and is spread over the first 2 days with the winners claiming the Royal Cup of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
What else is going on?
Through-out the 5 days there will be numerious displays featuring the ethnic culture of Sakon Nakhon including traditional dances such as Fon Phu Thai, a propitiatory dance with accompanying music that is played on traditional Isan instruments such as the gong ching (a tribal drum), along with other gongs, drums and pipes.
There are many other fun-filled activities and contests such as old-style Muay Thai boxing, musical performances, a mini marathon and of course stalls selling a vast selection of mouth-watering (and at times very spicy) north-eastern cuisine, along with an army of others selling all many of local produce.
Contact Details: TAT Nakhon Phanom Office Tel. +66 4251 3490-1 Sakon Nakon City Municipality Tel. +66 4273 3168
Celebrations across Thailand
Celebrations at this time of the year are conducted through-out Thailand, with a vast array of different, vibrant festivals that sit hand in hand, with the religious rites, to mark the occasion of the end of the Buddhist Lent; each has its own uniqueness and is known by many names. In Thailand’s south the people celebrate this most auspicious occasion with their very own festival of Chak Phra (Phum Pha Pa), while also in the south the people of Phatthalung Province, go mad with drums in the Phon Lak Phra Festival.
The north has its spiritual Tak Bat Devo Festival, featuring hundreds of Buddhist monks, there are 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.
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
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