Author Topic: Ubon Ratchathani - Candle Festival  (Read 2707 times)


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Ubon Ratchathani - Candle Festival
« on: July 11, 2010, 03:46:02 PM »

July 1 – 31, 2010
At Thung Sri Muang Park and Ubon Ratchathani National Muesum

As the seasonal monsoon rains descend over the kingdom, it marks the beginning of the Buddhist "rain retreat" and the Buddhist Lent, or "Phansa", during which all Buddhist monks retreat to the temples. This is also an auspicious time for Buddhist ordinations as it marks a period of spiritual renewal.

Known as "Khao Phansa", the Buddhist Lent is a time devoted to study and meditation. Buddhist monks remain within the temple grounds and do not venture out for a period of three months starting from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month (in July) to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eleventh lunar month (in October).

As Ubon Ratchathani province prepares for the Buddhist Lent, men folk, ordained as well as laymen, with artistic skills set about the task of moulding and sculpting Lenten candles. As these works of art are to be presented as Buddhist merit-making offerings, the artisans pour their heart and soul into their craft. Many of these are fine examples of Buddhist art and sculpture. The candle festival is unique to Ubon Ratchathani province and the customs and traditions related to this Buddhist festival have been diligently preserved by local communities.

Thai Buddhists engage in merit-making as an expression of respect and gratitude by making offerings to Lord Buddha, venerable monks, past and present kings, and to parents, grandparents and their ancestors.

Making merit relates strongly to the concept of rebirth. The accumulation of merit, or bun, is believed to exert a powerful influence on one's future life and, indeed, rebirths.

According to Buddhist teachings, all actions performed in our daily lives affect our field of merit, but none more so than the support of Buddhism itself. When one offers material support to a Buddhist monk — be it alms in the form of food or donations, or voluntary work — one is helping to assure that Buddhist teachings live on. This accumulates merit not only for the giver by helping sustain Buddhism. It also provides the opportunity for future generations to make and accumulate merit. In addition to the monk's morning alms round, the presentation of the Lenten candles is also a merit-making act.

Mandapa-shaped Candles (Mondop)
A mondop or mandapa is a structural form with a square base and a spired or pyramidal roof. Mondop candles are used as a receptacle to hold sacred offerings which are brought to temples during the ‘kathin’ season when monk robes are presented as offerings. Mandapa-shaped candles are used only for worship; they are not lit.
Beeswax Candle Castle (Prasat Pueng)
The beeswax candle castle is one of the elements of Buddhist merit-making rituals. These are also used in ancestor worship rituals to dedicate merit to ancestors. The beeswax ‘castle’ is also sometimes featured in propitiation rituals. However the use of the trunk of a banana tree, parts of which are folded into triangular-shapes, is preferred. Taro, turnip or sweet potato are sometimes carved into the floral shapes and dipped into heated beeswax, left to dry and used to decorate the banana tree.
Cone-Shaped (Poom)
Smaller candles are bonded together to form a cone-shaped structure. They serve a decorative purpose and are used to adorn the main candle. These are then presented as merit-making offerings.
Candles that are tied together (Mat Ruam)
Smaller candles are simply tied together into a bunch before they are presented as merit-making offerings. The cone-shaped poom and mat ruam candles are similar. Both reflect the ingenuity of villagers in creating a variety of ways to adorn their candle offerings.

This year, the Thailand International Wax Sculpture and Ubon Ratchathani Candle Procession Festival highlights four key themes – What a Wonderful World of Imagination from July 1 – 10, The Power of Youth from July 11 - 18, Discover the Treasure, Expand Wisdom from July 19 – 27 and Enjoy the Wonderful Wax Candle Procession from July 24 – 31.


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Re: Ubon Ratchathani - Candle Festival
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 12:51:31 AM »
Opening ceremony Candle Festival 2010 Ubon Ratchathani Part 1

Opening ceremony Candle Festival 2010 Ubon Ratchathani Part 1

Opening ceremony Candle Festival 2010 Ubon Ratchathani Part 2

Opening ceremony Candle Festival 2010 Ubon Ratchathani Part 2