One of Thailand’s most charming annual festivals is Khao Phansa, or Buddhist Lent Day, that officially signals both the beginning of the rainy season and the three-month period when monks traditionally retreat to their temples for study and meditation.
The Khao Phansa Candle Festival is celebrated in several locations around the country, the most famous of these being in Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast (Isan) around 500 km from Bangkok.
The ‘Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival 2019’ is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and boasts an entertaining program of music, dance and festivities, running from 12 July to 17 at various venues in the city. This includes the colourful processions of magnificent, intricately carved candlewax sculptures – which can reach up to 20 metres in height – that are a highlight of the event.
Each year the festival attracts sculptors from far and wide, both local and international, to create the waxwork sculptures which depict scenes and figures from Buddhist mythology and traditions.
This year’s festival promises to be a great place to experience some unique local culture, with people dressing in traditional clothing and performing folk dances, delicious cuisine to be enjoyed and lots of festive fun to be had by Thais and foreign tourists alike.
Highlights of the ‘Khao Phansa Candle Festival at Ubon Ratchathani 2019’ include the opening ceremony on 12 July at the city pillar shrine and Thung Si Mueang Park, a Thai-Indochina food festival from 12-17 July at the Fountain Square and city pillar shrine, Phansa candle kid contest on 13 July in front of the city pillar shrine, Phansa candle beauty pageant on 15 July at Sunee Grand Hotel & Convention Center, a light and sound show and night candle procession on 16 and 17 July at the Old Provincial Hall and the much-awaited candle procession and award presentation for the winning candlewax sculptures on 17 July in front of Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram.
Following the ‘Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival 2019’, the candlewax sculptures will be on view from 20 July to 20 August at Wat Phra That Nong Bua.
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