Venue: Sunthornwichit Road, Nakhon Phanom Provincial Hall
One of Thailand’s most spectacular cultural festivals to mark ‘Ok Phansa’ or the end of Buddhist Lent is Lai Reua Fai or the floating light festival in Nakhon Phanom, a province in the northeast of Thailand.
The festival is held during the eleventh lunar month to pay homage to the Lord Buddha and to make offerings to the Naga – a mythical serpent which, legend has it, lives in the murky depths of the mighty Mekong River.
Buddhist Lent, which lasts for three months, marks the period when Lord Buddha spent time in heaven before returning to the earthly realm. To pay their respects and welcome the Lord Buddha, Buddhists in Nahon Phanon launch the Ruea Fai or illuminated boats and float them along the Mekong. It is also believed that this ceremony will take sadness and bad things in life away down the river while also bringing good fortune into life.
Weeks before the festival takes place, local people of Nakhon Phanom together with the Buddhist monks of each temple will spectacularly decorate the boats and rafts and load them with food, flowers, incense sticks, candles, as well as handmade lanterns. On the full moon night of the eleventh month, these illuminated boats will be brought down and paraded along the river creating the spectacular sight as they float down the legendary Mekong.
The festival will be include boat races, cultural performances, music and entertainment, a walking street and lots of local cuisine and products to buy.
TAT Nakhon Phanom Office
Tel: +66(0) 4251 3490-1
For more information: http://www.tatnews.org/events/nakhon-phanom-illuminated-boat-procession