The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is joining forces with the Sakon Nakhon Provincial Authorities and Sakon Nakhon Provincial Administration to stage this year’s Wax Castle Procession and Long Boat Race Festival from 3-8 October, 2014.
The six-day event is held annually to mark the end of the Buddhist Lent or the Ok Phansa festival, which is one of the important annual cycle of celebrations for Buddhists. Religious ceremonies and fun events will take place at Suan Ming Mueang, Suan Somdej Phra Srinagarindra and the famous temple of Wat Phra That Choeng Chum Worawihan, in the Mueang district of Sakon Nakhon province.
Traditionally at this time of year, the people of Sakon Nakhon do rounds of the local temples to make merit and pay respect to their ancestors. The annual festival plays an important role in preserving the ancient cultural heritage of Sakon Nakhon as well as encouraging the wax-carving skills of local sculptors.
Over the years, the event has become more widely known to local and international travellers who now flock to the festival to participate and enjoy the local colour and festivities. These include the creation of large cities, temples and shrines carved from beeswax as well as the famous boat races and cultural performances.
Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “The Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Procession is one of the most impressive celebrations for Buddhists in Thailand. Visitors are always astounded by the great carving talents and artistic vision of the local Thai sculptors and the boat races on the river are always an exciting draw. Tourists who want to explore far-flung areas of the kingdom and see how a very traditional event is celebrated should go to Sakon Nakhon and take part in this year’s grand festival.”
At the annual Sakon Nakon Wax Castle Procession and Long Boat Race Festival, there is always a display of the exquisite wax sculptures at the end of Buddhist Lent and these are paraded to the delights of the crowd. In addition, visitors will get the chance to see cultural performances; such as, old-style Muay Thai boxing, traditional dances like Phu Thai, a propitiatory dance set to the music of gongs and other displays of ethnic culture of Sakon Nakhon.
The exciting long-boat races are a much anticipated part of the festivities and the local teams train for weeks in advance. The winning team will receive the Royal Cup of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Spectators can watch the races at the Nong Han Reservoir.
Sakon Nakhon is one of the provinces that makes up the northeastern region of Thailand and the area boasts several interesting Buddhist temples and attractions that are highly-revered by the local people; such as, Wat Phra That Choeng Chum Worawihan, Wat Pa Sutthawat, Phu Phan Musueum and many others.
Other interesting activities also include merit-making and charitable activities at the temple, shopping for OTOP products, a mini marathon, stalls selling north-eastern cuisine, musical performances, and many other fun-filled activities and contests that will take place throughout the six days of the event.