The most famous of the wax
candle processions for Buddhist Lent take place at the International Wax
Candle Festival and Wax Candle Procession, from 15-31 July at Thung Si
Mueang, Ubon Ratchathani.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting
travellers and visitors from around the world to join the Thai people in
marking the start of this year’s three-month Buddhist Lent period or Khao
Phansa. Khao Phansa falls on the first day after the full moon of the eight
lunar month, or on 31 July this year.
Legend has it that when the Lord Buddha was travelling and spreading his
teachings, it was traditional for ascetics to retire to retreats during the
rainy season. This period was known as ‘vassa’ and was aimed at preventing
crop damage during vital growing periods. During this time, monks stay
within their temples for study and adhere strictly to the teachings of the
Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, TAT Acting Governor and Deputy Governor for
International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas) said, “As
usual, the annual Khao Phansa celebrations truly reflect the local
traditions and strong beliefs in Buddhism of the Thai people. TAT cordially
invites all tourists and travellers to witness some of Thailand’s unique
festivals as well as immerse themselves in some delightful local customs
that can’t be found elsewhere. In line with our ‘2015 Discover Thainess’
campaign, TAT is encouraging tourists and travellers to go beyond the
traditional attractions and explore distinct customs and traditions in more
local destinations; such as, the 12 hidden gems.”
Among some of the more unique celebrations marking Buddhist Lent in Thailand
in 2015 include the International Wax Candle Festival and Wax Candle
Procession. The Wax Candle Festival runs from 15-31 July at Thung Si Mueang,
Ubon Ratchathani, and acts as a showcase for the 9th international Wax
Carving Competition. During Khao Phansa, from 30-31 July, the event will
feature a spectacular parade of ornately-carved wax castles around the city,
merit-making activities and light-and-sound presentation at night.
Also of interest is the Nakhon Phanom Candle Festival, from 31 July – 1
August, Wat Phra That Phanom will be the venue for a colourful procession of
exquisitely-carved candles, Miss Candle Beauty Contest, classical dancing, a
mass merit-making ceremony, and the chance to pay homage to the
highly-respected Phra That Phanom.
Surin also holds a wax candle procession from elephant back from 29-30 July
at the Monument of Phaya Surin Phakdi Sri Narong Changwang, Surin boasts a
procession of nearly 100 elaborately-decorated elephants carrying some of
the city’s most highly-revered monks around Surin in a unique and memorable
The Korat Candle Procession Festival 2015 runs from 30 July – 1 August at
the Tao Suranaree Monument, Nakhon Ratchasima and is a display of
exquisitely carved candles, candle procession and numerous merit-making
activities. Ahead of the province’s grand celebration, Phimai and Chokchai
districts will hold the candle festivals to mark the start of the Buddhist
Lent on 29 July.
The Tak Bat Dok Mai (Floral Merit-making) and Royal Candle Festival, from
29-31 July, is at Wat Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi, is a unique festival in
which Buddhists will present Dok Khao Phansa – traditional yellow and white
blooms – to monks ascending the temple steps to pay respect to the Buddha’s
Footprint as well as wash the monks’ feet as a way of making merit and
washing away sins.
The Suphan Buri Candle Festival, from 30 July – 1 August is at Wat Pa Lelai
Woravihara, and presents a colourful parade of beautifully-carved candles
accompanied by folk performances of ethnic groups, a candle competition,
displays of crafted candles and exquisitely-decorated floral floats as well
as impressive performing arts.