Author Topic: Phimai Festival and Boat Race, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand  (Read 3560 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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12th – 14th November 2010

In true Thai tradition the Dragon Boat racing festival has been taking place in Nakhon Ratchasima for over 100 years. The thrill of the race is supported by a Khmer sound and light show, traditional arts and craft stalls and traditional Thai entertainment.

Attracting thousands of spectators each year, the annual Phimai Festival and Boat Race in Nakhon Ratchasima is a wonderful spectacle. The highlight of the event is the traditional long-boat races which sees these magnificent boats compete in a race that has been taking place here every year for over 100 years. Other attractions include a sound and light show, a traditional arts and crafts fair, music, dance and other cultural performances.

For over a hundred years, thousands of people from the town of Nakhon Ratchasima and the surrounding provinces have flocked to the small, riverside town of Phimai for the annual Phimai Boat Races. These longboat races take place on the Mun River, a tributary of the Mekong, and are held at the same time as the Prasat Hin Phimai Festival and the national festival of Loy Krathong, usually in late October or early November.

Long Boat-Racing Festivals are arranged every year at the end of the Thai Buddhist Lent Period (about September or October) on days that the river tide is highest. The festival will be held by local people beside rivers from provinces which big rivers pass by such as in Nakhon Ratchasima Province at the Moon River, in Pitsanulok province, in Phichit province at the Nan River and in Ang-Thong province, Ayutthaya province, Pathum-Thani province at the Chao-Phraya River. Boats, which they use on the festival, will be chosen and made from auspicious trees of each area's believing. They train and prepare rowing-crews to be most fit and ready for being their representative at the festival.

Long Boat-Racing Festival is one of Thai traditions which has been arranged continuously since Ayutthaya time (about 600 years ago) for preparing and making morale, courage and strength to rowing-crews, as every Thai men were power of the country, for a war which could began anytime from aggression.

Presently, Long Boat-Racing Festival is one of Thai sports. There are awards, cups from members of the royal family of theChakri Dynasty or representatives of honor and reputation. So, it is a prize of victory that everyone will try to get. But mainly it's an event of enjoyment and happiness, not only by the rowing-crews but the members of the area and audiences too.

Therefore, Long Boat-Racing Festivals are arranged every year in different provinces.  They are very interesting and joyful festivals of Thailand which audiences, Thai people and visitors, enjoy very much. Besides, audiences also can see each beautiful decorative long boat that be made from each local believing and idea and also can feel the simultaneous step and intending of rowing-crews for victory of their own locality.