Phi Ta Khon Festival: 6-8 July 2016

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Date: 6-8 July 2016
Venue: Dan Sai, Loei Province

The Phi Ta Khon festival is unique to the Dan Sai district in Loei Province and reflects the local Isan belief in ghosts and spirits. Held once a year, it is part of a grand merit-making festival known as the “Boon Luang” festival. This year it is on 6-8 July 2016. The following is the schedule from last year. It is usually the same but I will try and get it confirmed as soon as I can.

€œBUN LUANG AND PHI TA KHON FESTIVA
Dansai district, Loei province

DAY 1
( Phra Upakut Invocation and Cultural Ceremony )

4:00 a.m. Invocation of Pra Upakut: Procession from Phon-Chai Temple to Mun and Sork River.
6:00 a.m. Food Offerings to Monks at Phon-Chai Temple.
8:30 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 Keaw Asa Road.
11:00 a.m. Performances on the stage in front of Dan Sai District Office.

DAY 2
(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.
1.00 p.m.  Performances on the stage in front of Dan Sai District Office.
Phi Ta Khon competition (Final round).
3:00 p.m€“ Ba- Si (Summoning of Spirits) Phra Wet at Chao Pho Kuan’s House.
3:30 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
7:00 p.m. – Buddhist sermons at Phon-Chai Temple.

DAY 3
( Buddhist sermons– No Phi Ta Khon Dancing )

4:00 a.m. 13 consecutive Buddhist sermons at Phon-Chai Temple
Parading of consecutive Buddhist sermons of all villages in Dan Sai District

The origins of the Phi Ta Khon Festival can be found in the tale of Lord Buddha’s last great incarnation before attaining Enlightenment. In Buddhist accounts, it is said that when Prince Vessandara, the Buddha’s penultimate incarnation, returned to his city, it was such a joyous occasion that the village spirits came forth to join the welcoming parade. This very colourful and vibrant Phi Ta Khon procession is the central focus of the celebrations.

In a lively re-enactment of the tale, the young men of the community dress up as “spirits” wearing long trailing costumes made from colourful strips of cloth sewn together.

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The hideous-looking Phi Ta Khon mask which is made of dried sticky rice husk is painted in bright red, green or other colours, and features the characteristic long pointed nose. This completes the transformation. The clanging sound of the square cowbells worn around the waist announces the presence of the spirits who wield phallic-shaped long-handled swords decorated with red paint. The good-natured, fun-loving spirits mingle among the crowd, teasing and amusing all who take part in the procession. Spectators and visitors are welcome to join in the fun.

There are two types of “spirits” featured in the Phi Ta Khon procession namely the “Phi Ta Khon Yai” the supreme Phi Ta Khon, and the “Phi Ta Khon Lek”, the ones that are commonly found. The making of the Phi Ta Khon Yai involves the performance of a sacred ritual to seek the blessings of the supreme powers before work on the Phi Ta Khon Yai masks can be initiated. It is also a task reserved exclusively for the descendants of families in which the tradition of making Phi Ta Khon masks has been practised for several generations. The Phi Ta Khon Yai is made of bamboo and is dressed in either male or female attire.

Contact information:

Accommodation in Dan Sai District
Phu Pha Nam Resort
Tel: 042 078078-9

Rang Yen Resort
Tel: 042 809511 – 3, 042 809514

Lay Leelawadee Resort
Tel: 042 801277

SB Resort
Tel: 042 891918

Na Thum Nam Taeng Homestay
Tel: 042 892339,891583, 042 086 8624812

Accommodation in Phu Ruea District
Phu Dara Resort
Tel: 042 801138-9

Phu Ruea Busba
Tel: 042 899330, 042 899229

Phu Ruea Resort
Tel: 042 899048, 042 899042

Baan Thongchai Resort
Tel: 042 899116

Contact information:
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Loei Office
Tel: +66 (0) 4281 2812
Fax: +66 (0) 4281 1480
E-mail: tatloei@tat.or.th
Phu Ruea Resort
Tel: 042 899048, 042 899042

Baan Thongchai Resort
Tel: 042 899116

Contact information:
Tourism Authority of Thailand, Loei Office
Tel: +66 (0) 4281 2812
Fax: +66 (0) 4281 1480
E-mail: tatloei@tat.or.th

IMPORTANT: It makes sense, that before travelling far to attend an event or festival that you double check dates and times first.

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