Get to know one of the most chilling festivals of the Thai tradition.
The history of the Phi Ta Khon Festival, or more commonly known as the Ghost Festival, goes back a long time. It is said that Prince Vessantara (Buddha in his past life) set out on a long journey. It was such a long journey that most of his followers believed he was dead. Surprisingly, one day, he returned, alive and in good health. His followers rejoiced, and the celebrations that followed those days were so raucous that they resulted in the awakening of the dead.
In our center we use massage techniques that, together with those of physiotherapy, help us to restore harmony and well-being to the body...
Other versions of the story tell how Prince Vessantara in that same life left the city where he lived to live temporarily in the north of the country of smiles. The change of residence was mainly because the Prince had had a run of very bad luck and he wanted to make a small spiritual retreat to pray to his ancestors and take refuge in religious life. However, after a time in this place, he and his entire family had to return to his main residence and as a farewell, the inhabitants of the surrounding towns and even the dead, came out to see him off.
In this three-day festival, the townspeople dress up in ghost masks, which is, by the way, the actual translation of the name of the festival in the Thai language, and have fun participating in parties and parades in the Dan Sai district in Loei province. This is also a time when people's creativity comes into play. Colorful and vibrant masks are a raucous sight to behold, and can even be quite scary at times. Cleverly these are white and have long noses.
These masks are so famous that they are sold all over the world. And it is that there are a large number of tourists who are so in love with the Thai culture that they decide to buy them to decorate their home. In addition, these curiosities are highly desired by collectors and costume designers.
What was once a children's festival, something like a Thai version of Halloween, has gradually become a festival more aimed at each person bringing out their maximum imaginative capacity. The main attention of all festival goers falls on the big monstrous masks, with terrifying teeth and evil eyes. Legend has it that it is bad luck to keep these masks after the festival is over, but as times have changed, people now sell theirs and make a lot of money from them. These attract the attention of tourists and therefore prices can reach thousands of baht. And it is not easy to make the costume. Hours and hours of hard work are required to make a costume that does not restrict the movement of the dancers and attracts locals and tourists at the same time.
In this video you will be able to see a frenetic selection of masks and dances of this magical festivity.
How to visit the province that hosts this festival?
There are several ways to get to the Ghost Festival in Dan Sai, Loei province. Our recommendation is to take a flight from Bangkok (there are usually 4-5 daily flights connecting the two destinations). However, if you want the experience of crossing the whole country by bus, you can also do it, but it will take about 9 hours from Bangkok and it will cost you between 130 and 600 THB.
Phi Ta Khon masks are made from dried sticky rice husks and are painted in bright red, green, or other colors. These have a characteristic long and pointed nose. But this is what completes the transformation. The clang of square cowbells worn around the waist heralds the presence of spirits wielding phallic-shaped swords with long handles decorated with red paint. Good-natured and fun-loving spirits mingle with the crowd, joking and amused all who take part in the procession. At this party spectators and visitors are welcome to join in the fun.
There are two types of "spirits" that appear in the Phi Ta Khon procession, the "Phi Ta Khon Yai": the "supreme" character Phi Ta Khon and the "Phi Ta Khon Lek", which are commonly found. The making of Phi Ta Khon Yai masks involves the performance of a sacred ritual to seek the blessings of the higher powers before the work can begin. It is also a task reserved exclusively for the descendants of families in which the tradition of making Phi Ta Khon masks has been practiced for several generations. The Phi Ta Khon Yai is made of bamboo and is dressed in male or female attire.
Usually, as you already know thanks to the previous publications where we have talked about the different festivities celebrated in Thailand, any celebration, however mainstream it may be, brings with it a ritualistic characteristic of a centuries-old tradition. In the case of Phi Ta Khon, these ceremonies cover three consecutive days, which this 2022 has been from June 22 to 25. These are the rituals that take place on those days:
As the start of the festival, a religious procession takes place to the temple of Wat Phon Chai, in Nong Khai. Inside the temple, people pray to invoke Phra Pa Khut, a Buddhist monk who is especially revered in this part of the country.
This is the best-known day of the festival, because it is when young people, artists and dancers come out dressed in their best masks and costumes to dance and scare people who are walking down the street, or on parades. Rockets are also launched to ask the sky for fertility and good harvests.
This is the most religious day of the festival. Everyone gathers at the Wat Pho Chai temple to listen to the Buddha's message recited by the monks as well as perform various prayers.
It's the perfect time to plan your trip to the land of smiles, but if you can't wait and want to enjoy the most relaxing face of Thailand without having to leave your city, Thai Spa Massage Barcelona is the best place to do it. Our Thai massages will be the best part of this summer.
To celebrate once again the fantastic customer experience in our facilities, the most outstanding website in booking appointments for body care and beauty treatments in our country, awards Thai Spa Massage with the Top Rated 2020 award.