The Lai Reua Fai, Nakhon Phanom’s famous and mythological annual illuminated boats festival, is considered one of the Kingdom’s most spectacular cultural festivals to mark the end of Buddhist Lent.
The festival is held annually during the eleventh lunar month when Thai Buddhists in this northeastern province launch the Lai Reua Fai to float them down the Mekong River. Residents pay respect to the Lord Buddha and make offerings to mythical serpents (‘Naga’ in Thai) which supposedly reside in the mighty river and its many tributaries.
It is also believed that this ceremony washes sadness and life’s troubles down the river while also bringing good fortune to participants and believers.
Local people of Nakhon Phanom gather together with Buddhist monks from each village temple to spectacularly decorate the boats and rafts weeks before the festival takes place. They then load them with food, flowers, incense sticks, candles and handmade lanterns. Once lit, these illuminated boats are then launched creating a spectacular visual spectacle as they float down the legendary Mekong River.
Highlights at this year’s Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession Festival is scheduled on the end of Buddhist Lent Day, 13 October, 2019:
Venue: Wat Aranyikawas and City Pillar Shrine
12.30-13.30 Hrs. Procession of the Royal Flame, traditional illuminated boats and wax castles
Venue: City Pillar Shrine
14.00 Hrs. A religious ceremony, followed by the lighting of the Royal Flame on the replica illuminated boat by Nakhon Phanom Governor, a ceremony to pass on the Royal Flame to district chiefs to light the boat from their district.
Venue: on the bank of Mekong River, in front of Wat Pho Si
17.00 Hrs. The Lai Reua Fai illuminated boat processions to the Mekong River, and the release of two traditional illuminated boats onto the river
At Pha Laeng stage, Lam Tawan Boek Fa ceremonial grounds
19.00 Hrs. Orchestra performance of royal compositions and songs
19.30 Hrs. – Opening ceremony of Nakhon Phanom Illuminated Boat Procession 2019- Lai Reua Fai illuminated boat procession of boats from 13 districts and the provincial administration organisation
– Music performance of royal compositions and songs by school’s orchestra band and Thai singer Ford Sobchai Griyoonsen
– Announcement of best illuminated boats for 2019 in three categories: beauty, creativity and length of between 40-60 metres.
22.00 Hrs. Event ends
During 6-14 October 2019, visitors can enjoy the Nakhon Phanom Red Cross Fair 2019 Along the Mekong River, Sunthon Vichit Road and Nakhon Phanom City Hall. There are daily performances, red cross fair, and sale of OTOP products.
TAT Nakhon Phanom Office
Tel: +66 (0) 42 513 490-1
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