In preparing the annual cultural event, the Ministry of Culture invited participants from Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and South Korea to join the festival where they can display their beautiful masks and costumes.
The Phi Ta Khon Festival is being held in the Dan Sai District in a joint effort between the Ministry of Culture, local residents and private organisations as well as a network of culture-related agencies.
Culture Minister Vira Rojpojchanarat said during a press conference announcing the event that it is being held to promote local tourism, a colourful local tradition and cultural exchanges between Thailand and other countries, reported NNT. (See story here.)
The Phi Ta Kon Festival is free to take part and enjoy, but also expected to generate up to B10 million for the local economy, he said.
In addition to a parade of masked Phi Ta Khon performers, visitors will get to enjoy a traditional rocket launching ceremony, a Phi Ta Khon mask contest, a variety of local products and cultural performances.
Every year, Dan Sai district in Loei province in Thailand’s Northeast (Isarn) stages a colourful event known as “Bun Luang” or “Bun Pawat” and the famous Phi Ta Khon Festival. This is a unique celebration of the province and the colourful processions and masked villagers ensure that a large number of visitors come to the little village to enjoy the three-day fun.
The most recognised feature of the Phi Ta Khon 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.
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 Isarn alongside other events, such as, the Bun Bang Fai rocket festival.
As well as the unique masked parade through the town, there are other activities including several traditional rituals and Buddhist ceremonies relating to this festival at Wat Phon Chai temple, such as, a recitation of the thirteen sermons of Phra Vessandorn – about a previous life of the Lord Buddha.
In addition, there will be several contests including a Phi Ta Khon mask dance competition, special markets selling food and local handicrafts, live music performance and cultural shows.
The festival will conclude on Monday (June 18).