Every year, Dan Sai district in Loei province in the Northeast of Thailand stages a colorful event known as Bun Luang or ‘Bun Pawat’ and the famous Phi Ta Khon Festival. This is a unique celebration of the province and the colourful processions and masked villagers ensure that every year, a large number of visitors come to the little village to enjoy the fun. This year, the event will take place from 24-26 June 2017.
The most recognised feature of the Phi Ta Khon, or Ghost festival, is the colourful parade of locals who dance and strike poses while wearing huge masks creatively made from carved coconut-tree trunks, topped with wicker sticky-rice steamers that make them appear taller and more grotesque. It is thought the event has its origins in a fertility festival but these days it’s part of a two day merit-making event. It has become one of the most popular festivals of Isan alongside other events such as the rocket festival. As well as the unique masked parade through the town, there are other activities to enjoy, including the Phi Ta Khon mask contest, a Junior Phi Ta Khon contest, a recitation of the thirteen sermons of Phra Vessandorn – about a previous life of the Lord Buddha, and exhibition booths from public and private sectors. There is also a fun food festival and booths selling local products.
I haven’t seen the schedule for this year, but the following is what happened over the past years. It is usually much the same. I will update it once I receive this year’s schedule.
( 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.
(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.
( 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