To mark the end of the Buddhist Lent, the northeastern town of Nakhon Phanom and the banks of the Mekong River will be lit up for the annual Illuminated Boat Festival, which runs from this Friday to Oct 30, making it a wonderful festive getaway for vacationers to savour the charm of Thai cultural legacy.
(Photos courtesy of TAT Nakhon Phanom)
According to local beliefs, boats have been used to worship the Lord’s Buddha’s footprints and the Chulamanee pagoda in heaven, as well as to show devotion to the goddess of water.
The Lai Rue tradition has been passed down through generations and local artisans have developed techniques to create a parade of grandiose 80m-long illuminated boats decked out with thousands of lights, which represent the glory and brightness of life.
This year’s highlight is a procession of spectacular illuminated boats from 12 districts on Oct 29, which is accompanied with the release of 5,000 krathong sai made from banana tree trunks into the Mekong.
During the day, a parade of local villagers from seven ethnic groups will perform a traditional dance performance to worship Phra That Phanom, a sacred stupa housing Buddha’s breastbone relics. There is also a demonstration on how to craft traditional illuminated boats, the King’s Cup long boat competition and other traditional cultural performances on view.
Coinciding with the Lai Rue Fai Festival, The Wax Castle Festival and Long Boat Race will return to the tranquil town of Sakon Nakhon between Oct 23 and Oct 29. In order to pay homage to the Lord Buddha, a procession of finest beeswax castles will march to the 80th Chaloem Phrakiat Park and Wat Phra That Choeng Chum, in accordance with Buddhist beliefs.
Other attractions include religious ceremonies, the traditional longboat competition on Nong Han Reservoir on Oct 26 and 27, traditional cultural performances, a beauty pageant and a food fair.
Find out more details, visit tatnews.org.