Southerners take part in colourful Sat Thai fest
Thais in southern provinces flocked to temples on Sunday (September 25) to celebrate the annual Sat Thai festival, which is held at the end of the tenth lunar month.
Sat Thai Day is an occasion to make merit by honouring spirits of the season and one’s deceased relatives. Rites and ceremonies vary among different communities.
The ceremony is sometimes referred to by locals as “sending off grandparents into the next life”, and is an activity that boosts community unity.
According to local beliefs, Sat Thai Day is one on which deceased relatives can come back spiritually to visit their living descendants to receive “merit”, which they can take to their next life.
On the special occasion, people visit temples and make merit by presenting offerings to Buddhist monks and praying away all bad karma experienced by their deceased relatives, so that they are forgiven and can have a peaceful, happy next life.
Most temples build an elevated platform on which visitors place extra food as offerings for the deceased who have no relatives. After a while the foods are considered “consumed” by ghosts and therefore up for grabs by ceremony participants, who believe that eating a ghost’s leftovers is considered good luck.
To make the occasion more entertaining, some temples place the food on top of an oiled pillar instead of a platform, and those who manage to climb and get the food first are considered winners.