The Illuminated Boat Procession 2009

Nakhon Phanom illuminated-boat-procession

I first found out about this annual festival held in Nakhon Phanom last year through a series of cryptic e-mails my girlfriend had sent with pictures of beautiful illuminated boats attached. I say cryptic but the reality of the situation was that she couldn’t explain about the festival in English but she hoped I could figure it out.

Illuminated boat festival 2008It took a while but I finally solved the puzzle and the reward was the Illuminated Boat Procession Festival.  The Festival,  as well as other festivals in the region,  marks the end of Buddhist Lent. The Thai’s believe that Buddha spent the last three months, or Buddhist lent,  in heaven preaching to his mother.The illuminated boat festival is the Thai way of paying homage to Buddha’s return.

The once ancient festival originally included very small boats made of banana tree trunks or bamboo that were illuminated with candles and lanterns and decorated with many lit joss sticks before they were launched into the Mekong. Today the boats are much more extravagant and the ancient rite has turned into a competition as well.

illuminated boat festival 2008Now every year invitations are sent out to the various temples, organizations and citizens to take part in the beautiful competition. This year the illuminated boat festival,  which takes place in Nakhon Phanom,  begins on September 29th and will go through October 15th with many boats and people taking part. As well as the beautifully illuminated boats the festival also includes nightly fireworks.

The Mekong at night as seen from Nakhon Phanom is a beautiful sight in and of itself,  the illuminated boat festival will only make it more spectacular and definitely a must see.

sig1 The Illuminated Boat Procession 2009

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Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-09-14 23:02:32

The Illuminated Boat Procession Festival is on my to-do list, for sure!

And your statement ‘It took a while but I finally solved the puzzle’ is exactly how I feel about a lot of what goes on in Thailand.

Whenever I ask someone about an event or such, I usually get a mysterious answer too. Googling can be great, but if you don’t have the perfect keywords you can resurface many days later none the wiser.
Catherine´s last blog ..The FSI Wiki Project My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-09-15 00:01:06

It took me a few months to figure this one out Cat…it wasn’t until I was back in Nakhon Phanom that I started to get the clues. Like you said if you don’t know what to Google then it’s a wild goose chase.

Comment by MartynNo Gravatar
2009-09-15 17:20:37

Talen first I gotta say that the photos are an absolute delight to the eyes and the top one is blinding. Pookie must not only be a photogenic beauty but someone who can close out one beautiful photograph. Your post really rams home to me what the two week Bangkok and Pattaya tourists are missing out on in the Land of Smiles. As good as those hotspots may be the world of Isaan has so much to offer and all year round to boot. Surely the TAT have got to launch a decent promotional campaign to get more tourists to see festivals like this and what a massive boost the revenue would be for one of Thailand’s poorest regions.
Martyn´s last blog ..The Thai Two Finger Salute My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-09-15 19:09:03

The bottom two photo’s Pookie took and some others that were very blurry. The very top photo I had to pay for from a stock photo place.

It’s the first time I have ever done so but when I saw the photo I had to have it to show just how beautiful the procession is.

Unfortunately I missed the festival last year and will miss it this year as well…here’s to being there next year with camera in hand.

There really is so much on offer in Thailand all year round…I think I could try and cover a years worth of festivals and such and still not have enough time to see and do it all.

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