Ghost Festival in Dan Sai, Loei (Pee Ta Khon)

July 1, 2011toJuly 3, 2011

The Phi Ta Khon festival held in the astoundingly beautiful mountainous areas of Dan Sai in the province of Loei. It is a sacred festival similar, in a fashion, to the Day of the Dead in Mexico which has many strong spiritual connections and also a lot of fun too. In 2011 the festival will begin on July first and run until, and including, July 3rd – the date was decided by the local spiritual leaders and can vary for reasons only known to them. It has been confirmed that July 1st – July 3rd 2011 is the correct date for this year (Thanks Terry!)

The full name of this festival is Bun Luang (or Boon Phra Wate)  however the most memorable day for visitors (and the most fun for locals) is Phi Ta Khon, the 1st day of the 3 day festival due to the busy and flamboyant party atmosphere brought on by customed ghosts parading the streets. One of the origins of this day is that an incarnation of the Buddha, known as Prince Vessandorn, reappeared to the local people and they were so excited to see him that their calls woke the dead. This should be indicative of the fun and frivolity of the first days celebration.

The 2nd day has some worship at the temple followed by dancing and prizes for masks, dancing and music.

The third, and final, day is respectful and focusses on the spiritual aspects of harmony and the wisdom of Buddha. The fun of the previous days forgotten as thanks is paid for guidance in life.

For a very paced and informative video of the event please watch this video:

For a nice upbeat tempo overview of this festival, made locally, check out this video:

For more information about this wonderful Thai experience read up on the Wikipedia page or visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s website.