The Phi Ta Khon festival takes place in Loei Province on June 23-24, 2007. Part of a bigger merit-making festival known as the "Boon Luang" festival, someone once described Phi Ta Khon as “a bit like Halloween on steroids”. Witness it and you will see what he means! Unique to Dan Sai district, the festival is a reflection of the superstitions and supernatural beliefs that play an important part in daily life in the northeastern part of Thailand – known locally as “Issan”.
The history of the festival dates back to Buddhist tradition. The return to the area of Prince Vessandorn (an former incarnation of the Lord Buddha), brought about a homecoming welcome that was so warm and appealing, the spirits manifested to join in the celebrations. The focus point of the Phi Ta Khon festival is on the first day when a huge procession takes place to represent this past event. Those on the march sport what are often enormous (and always ornate and colorful) spirit masks made of dried sticky-rice.
The second day sees a procession to the local temple with a sacred image of the Buddha. As they move through the streets the revelers try to frighten onlookers with their masks. Once at the temple they set off bamboo rockets to mark the end of the procession.
This is a genuine spectacle and great fun with plenty of music and dancing. If you are anywhere near the area, it is a must. If you are looking for more information, contact the Loei Tourism Center:
Tel: (66) 0-4281-2812, 0-4281-1405
Fax: (66) 0-4281-1480
Alternatively, email the Tourist Authority of Thailand: firstname.lastname@example.org