Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival
Ratchatani is the largest province in Isan, as the northeast of
Thailand is known. Following the
common practice in Thailand, the provincial capital city is also named
Ubon Ratchatani. Khao Phansa Day marks the beginning of the rainy
season retreat for Buddhist monks. To celebrate this, a candle festival
is held in the city every year. Huge wax sculptures are prepared
by people from temples throughout the province and paraded through the
city. This page presents some photographs taken during the festival in
On the night before the parade the candles are on display. Crowds of people turn out to get a preview of what is coming the next day.
The parade is led by the winner from last year.
The horse seems eager to get going.
Some entries use a range of colours in the wax.
Between the candles in the parade, the watchers are entertained by local dancers.
These girls are really getting into the swing of things in true Isan style.
Some of the entries consist solely of carved wax.
The result can be quite beautiful.
Another style involves thousands of carefully moulded wax pieces which are assembled to provide intricate detail.
The court musician.
Keeping the sculptures in good condition can be difficult in the tropical heat. In this close up, if you look above the ear, you can see a piece of wax that has softened and sagged. To try to prevent this, the sculptures are regularly sprayed with cold water.
A polite wai.
A triumphant wave.
An offering of lotus buds.
If you are ever in Thailand during July I
would recommend a visit to Ubon Ratchatani. Apart from the Candle
Festival, there are many other things to see, including many interesting
temples, handicraft centres, ancient rock paintings and natural
attractions including waterfalls.