Phi Ta Khon , sometimes known as Ghost Festival, is the most common name for a group of festivals held in Dan Sai, Loei province, Isan, Thailand. The events take place over three days some time between March and July (mainly in June), the dates being selected annually by the town’s mediums. The small town of Dan Sai doesn’t normally attract international attention in its remote setting amidst northeastern Thailand’s mountains, but that all changes during the village’s three-day ghost festival Phi Ta Khon, which is held in honour of spirits in the community.
Interesting Features of Phi Ta Khon Festival
- On the first day masked and costumed performers parade through the streets to pay respect to the river spirit. The first day is the Ghost Festival itself, also called Wan Ruam (assembly day).
- On day two, a smaller parade is followed by firing rockets into the sky in the hope it will encourage the rain to fall.
- On day three, sermons are given by the local Buddhist monks. The village’s temples also host dance performances on small stages.
- In a lively re-enactment of the tale, the young men of the community dress up as “spirits” wearing long trailing costumes made from colourful strips of cloth sewn together.
- The origins of this part of the festival are traditionally ascribed to a story of the Vessantara Jataka in which the Buddha in one of his past lives as a prince made a long journey and was presumed dead. The celebrations on his return were so raucous as to wake the dead.
- There are two types of “spirits” featured in the Phi Ta Khon procession namely the “Phi Ta Khon Yai” the supreme Phi Ta Khon, and the “Phi Ta Khon Lek”, the ones that are commonly found.
- The whole event is called Bun Luang, part of a Buddhist merit-making holiday also known as Bun Phawet.
If you are planning a Travel to Thailand in the month of june then you can enjoy this cultural festival. Don’t get scared, its only Ghost Festival by name and you will not see the ghost anywhere there.