Phi Ta Khon Festival, Northeastern Thailand

Phi Ta Khon

Musical and colourful processions of masked villagers will pack the streets and rockets will fill the sky for three days from 16-18 June (Photo TAT)

The ghostly colourful Phi Ta Khon festival will be held this year from 16-18 June in Dan Sai district in the Thai north-eastern province of Loei

Celebrated every year in Northeast Thailand, Phi Ta Khon is a ghostly festival, unique to the Isaan culture where musical and colourful processions of masked villagers pack the streets and rockets fill the sky for three days before the villagers meet at the local temple to listen to the monks recite the message of Lord Buddha.

The most recognised feature of the Phi Ta Khon, or Ghost festival, is the colourful 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.

The Phi Ta Khon Festival comes along with another colourful event known as ‘Bun Luang’ or ‘Bun Pawat’. Both take place in Dan Sai district in Loei province (about 450km from Bangkok). This year, the Bun Luang and Phi Ta Khon Festival will take place from 16-18 June.

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 is one of the most popular festivals of Isan alongside other events, such as, the Bun Bang Fai rocket festival.

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