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Blog : Events in Thailand

Phi Tha Khon, the Thailand Gost festival

Every year in Dansai, Loei Province, in the north-east of the country, one of Thailand’s most amazing festivals is held: the Phi Ta Khon Festival. This celebration dedicated to the spirits is a unique traditional ceremony transmitted from generation to generation. This year, the event will be held from 5th to 7th Juy 2019. The detailed schedule oft his very unique festival in Thailand is below.

Phi Ta Khon Festival Loei

Phi Ta Khon Festival is the most famous festival in Loei province

 

About Phi Ta Khon Festival

Usually held in June or July at dates that change every year, the Phi Ta Khon Festival is the best known tradition in Loei Province. It is part of a major festival of merit called the Boon Luang festival that combines Bun Phra Wet and Bun Bang Fai (the rocket festival) festivals.

The origins of this Ghost Festival are traditionally attributed to a story of the Vessantara Jataka in which Lord Buddha in one of his past lives as a prince made a long journey and was presumed dead. The celebrations when he came back were so joyful that they awakened the spirits who came to join the welcome parade.

In commemoration of this moment, the young men of the community disguise themselves as Phi Ta Khon (“spirits”) dressed in long, colorful trailing costumes and all wear the typical hideous mask of Phi Ta Khon, made from a basket useb for cooking sticky rice and recognizable by its long pointed nose and wide, sharp-toothed smile. Swords ended by a phallic form sometimes complete their panoply.

In addition to the highlight of the festival, the parade through the city, there are other activities, including several traditional rituals and Buddhist ceremonies related to the festival at Wat Phon Chai temple, the epicenter of the event, such as the recitation of the thirteen sermons from Phra Vessandorn.

There are also several competitions, including Phi Ta Khon masked dances contest, special markets selling food and local handicrafts, concerts and cultural performances.

 

Schedule of Phi Ta khon Festival

Here is the programme of the 3 day festival.

phi ta khon festival thailande

 

Friday 5 July 2019

( Phra Upakut Invocation and Cultural Ceremony)

  • 04:00 a.m.- Invocation of Pra Upakut: Procession from Phon-Chai Temple to Mun and Sork River.
  • 06:00 a.m.- Food Offerings to Monks at Phon-Chai Temple.
  • 08:30 a.m.- Ba- Si (Summoning of Spirits) Ceremony at Chao Pho Kuan’s House.
  • 10:00 a.m.- Cultural Ceremony at Phon-Chai Temple by Dan Sai Sheriff. Gathering for Phi Ta Khon procession and competitions among groups marching along Kaew Asa Road.
  • 11:00 a.m.- Performances on the stage in front of Dan Sai District Office.
    – Participate the Mask Festival by painting masks with the famous artists from 4 regions at Wat Pho Chai (first day).

 

Saturday 6 July 2019

(Official Opening Ceremony and the Grand Phi Ta Khon Parade)

    • 10:00 a.m.- Grand opening ceremony by Loei Governor in front of Dan Sai District Office.
      .- All parades move from Dan Sai District Office to Phon-Chai Temple.
      – Participate the Mask Festival by painting masks with the famous artists from 4 regions at Wat Pho Chai (last day).
    • 01.00 p.m. – Performances on the stage in front of Dan Sai District Office.
      – Phi Ta Khon competition (Final round).
    • 03:00 p.m. – Ba- Si (Summoning of Spirits) Phra Wet at Chao Pho Kuan’s House.
    • 03:30 p.m. – Phra Wet parade led by Chao Pho Kuan and Chao-Mae Nang Tiem to Phon- Chai Temple to make merit and firing of the Bamboo rockets.
      – Phi Ta Khon mask discarding ceremony at Wang-wern pier, Phon-Chai Temple
    • 07:00 p.m. – Buddhist sermons at Phon-Chai Temple.

 

Sunday 7 July 2019

(Buddhist sermons- No Phi Ta Khon Dancing)

  • 04:00 a.m. – 13 consecutive Buddhist sermons at Phon-Chai Temple
    – Parading of consecutive Buddhist sermons of all villages in Dan Sai District

For tourists, it’s the 2nd day that is the most interesting, I think. This is a good opportunity to visit Loei Province and go after or before to the charming city of Chiang Khan.

 

How to go to Dansai ?

To come to Dan Sai from Loei, there are local buses that take you there in about 1h30. Otherwise, the bus to Phitsanulok can also drop you off in Dan Sai. To enjoy the festival, it is better to book an accommodation in Dan Sai or nearby but book in advance!

 

 

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