THE annual Bun Luang and Phi Ta Khon or “Ghost” festival in northeastern Loei province’s Dan Sai district has an international mood this year with seven other countries aside from Thailand sending in teams to join a mask parade, Thai News Agency said today (June 25).
The most recognized feature of the Phi Ta Khon, or Ghost festival is the colorful 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, Tourism Authority of Thailand said.
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.
This year there is an international dimension to this festival as Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, South Korea, India, the Philippines and Malaysia sent their teams of masked performers to join the Thais in this parade.
The lively and exciting two-day festival which ends tomorrow (June 26) drew a large number of tourists who enjoyed the fascinating spectacle of a variety of masks and floats from each village of Dan Sai district.
The much-anticipated festival was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn and Permanent Secretary for Culture Ministry Kitsayapong Siri.
Loei Governor Khumpol Banthaothuk said the key objective of arranging this festival and the international mask parade is to pass on native cultural knowledge to the next generation.
It is hoped that this event leads to stronger economic and tourism relations while also meeting the government’s Thailand 4.0 policy.
Top: Some of the colorful masks on display at this year’s Phi Ta Khon festival. Photo: Thai News Agency
Inset: A float rolls through a street in Dan Sai district packed with tourists. Photo: Thai News Agency