The candle festival in Ubon Ratchathani
The candle festival (Poang Lang) in Ubon Ratchathani is one of the most holy and popular events in Thailand. The festival takes place in the month of July every year and it is called Khao Phansa by the locals. The candle festival of Ubon Ratchatani coincides with the Asanha Bucha and the Vassa ritual. Asanha Bucha takes place as a tribute to the first sermon of Lord Buddha, whereas the Vassa ritual is the Buddhist Lent, which is the period when the Buddhist monks move away into their monasteries and impound themselves during the rainy season that usually lasts for around three months.
Popular festival all over Thailand
It is not the fact that the candle festival takes place only in the province of Ubon Ratchatani; rather it is celebrated in the entire Thailand. The celebration in the Phra Phutthabat district in Saraburi Province and North Eastern Province of Ubon Ratchathani are most popular among the others. It’s also a kind of trademark for the city: If you go in the park in the middle of the town, you will see a large scupture representing the art of making wax candles for these annual celebrations.
The parade of the candle festival
The major highlight of the candle festival is a special parade. Throughout the parade, people carry big candles through the city center and head towards the temple. After reaching the temple, they offer the candles to the monks so that they can use those donations during their ritual period of three months. It is said that those who donate candles to the monks by participating in the parade, they are destined to bring good luck for them.
The huge wax bodies
The participants of the parade also take gigantic wax figures on ornate floats. These huge wax bodies depict different scenes from the Hindu and Buddhist mythology. These massive and detailed candles are not just made up of wax, rather these items are formed of wood or plaster with a wax coating on the body. On the eve of the Asanha Bucha, these immaculate art works of wax are kept in downtown Ubon Ratchathani’s Tung Sri Muang Park. Many visitors assemble to the park on that day to witness the beauty of those decorate wax figures and also to observe the detailed work of the local artists. These huge sized candles will only add to the charm and inspiration of the festival and these are not supposed to burn.
Entertaining and enlightening
During the evening, at many temples, small possessions take place, however the major parade is conducted early next morning. The major parade of the candle festival is known as Wan Khao Phansa. The parade of this festival is not just a mere walk; rather there are entertaining acts by different musicians and dancers with their traditional costumes on behalf of their relevant institution or temple.
The entire site of the festival is very beautiful and it is definitely not to be missed. The visitors of Thailand during this period, makes a point to witness the enchanting candle festival of Ubon Ratchatani. Visit Thailand and be a part of this celebration.
Video of the 2009 Candle festival and 4th International Wax Sculpture.
This post is also available in: French