The next few days make a long weekend for me. There are three days off next week plus this weekend for a big five days off of work. The Thais will celebrate Khao Phansa, or the Buddhist Lent.The most famous celebration is in Ubon where they hold the annual Candle Festival. The festival celebrates the Buddhist Lent with art exhibits, cultural exhibits and most notably, the Royal Candle Procession. Basically a parade showcasing traditional dancing, marching bands and of course, giant wax candle like sculptures.The candle "floats" are the highlight of the festival and perhaps the most amazing from a foreigner's eye. This will be my third or fourth Candle Festival here in Ubon. I am still in awe as I look up at the intricate design and craftsmanship of these wax giants. Here is a preview of some of the types of candles that are hand made, usually at temples.One little tidbit, from my past couple times at the actual parade, is that during the parade, which takes place during the intense heat of the Thai summer day, the candles have a tendency to melt, especially with the heat just being magnified on the black asphalt of concrete roads. There are occasional "watering" stations along the route of the procession to lessen the melting of these magnificent candle sculptures!Darwin and his wife were nice enough to translate the schedule of events of this year's Candle Festival. You can find it on his blog Life and Times in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, a great source of information for anyone planning a visit to the northeast.
I'll throw some more pictures of the 2009 Candle Festival up when we get back to Bangkok...not that I'm in any hurry!