Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand
Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand

Nakhon Si Thammarat's spectacular annual festival

Travel log September 13, 2017 06:00

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The living honour the dead at this annual Buddhist event in the south of Thailand

The Nakhon Si Thammarat Tenth Lunar Month Festival is a fixture on the Thailand events calendar and one of the biggest annual Buddhist celebrations in Southern Thailand.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat Tenth Lunar Month Festival was first held in 1923 during the first fortnight of the 10th lunar month’s waning month. It originated from local superstition that ancestors, particularly those not yet reincarnated, are temporarily released from the ‘underworld’, explaining the numerous ‘hungry-ghost puppet’ parades.

According to tradition, living relatives make merit dedicated to ancestors by giving food offerings to monks. Some offerings are based on life’s necessities like Khanom La for clothes, and Khanom Dee Sum for money. These offerings are presented directly to the spirits via sacred rituals.

City hall park in Nakhon Si Thammarat is the primary venue for this month-long celebration. This includes a traditional Thai love song contest, a Nang Talung shadow play competition plus Thai literature and poetry contest. There is also a competition for the best Moo Rub float decoration and parade – a highlight of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Tenth Lunar Month Festival. Contests are also held for best hungry-ghost puppets and puppetry parades.

The sacred Moo Rub parades is even more spectacular at night with illuminated floats majestically rolling down Ratchadamnoen Road in front of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s city hall.

The Somdej Phra Srinagarindra 84 Park (Thung Thalad) is the official venue for the Nakhon Si Thammarat Tenth Lunar Month Festival. It hosts concerts by Thai pop singers, over 90 student performances, a beauty contest, ‘retro-nostalgic’ market and Red Cross Fair in addition to other activities and events.