The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival is a lavish procession of artistically carved candles to Buddhist temples or wats. It is celebrated in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand’s northeasternmost province. It is Thailand’s largest and most well-known candle festival.
Dates of the Candle Festival in Ubon Ratchathani
The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival’s two main dates coincide with Wan Asana Bucha and Wan Kao Pansa. The former is a Buddhist feast commemorating Buddha’s first sermon, and the latter marks Buddhist Lent’s start. The candle festival is often held in July. However, the exact dates vary yearly. The lunar calendar determines these dates. The procession is customarily held on the month’s full moon. The major parade begins at 8 or 9 a.m. and lasts three hours.
The Candle Parade, which takes place on the second day’s morning, is the primary attraction of this two-day celebration. Artists from all over the world come to compete and display their unique carvings in the annual competition. Thousands of spectators watch the parade and participate in numerous events. In traditional costumes, musicians and dancers follow the march. There will be live music, food stalls, and open-air marketplaces. The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival is a beautiful event that art and culture fans should not miss.
Venue Details of Candle Festival
On the eve of Wan Asana Bucha, the carved candles are all collected in Thing Si Mueang, a park in the city’s heart. They have been tastefully decorated and are being displayed for this evening. The central procession begins the following day on Wan Kao Pansa. There are daily flights between Ubon Ratchathani and Bangkok. There are also nightly sleeper trains. While there is lots of public transportation in Ubon Ratchathani, there may be other dependable options during the Candle Festival.
What to Expect at the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival?
The Candle Procession, or the parade of giant candles through the city, is the primary event of this yearly celebration. Massive sculptures are carefully carved from beeswax candles and lavishly embellished with Thai themes. These buildings are sculpted months in advance. Typically, the sculptures feature legendary characters from Thai and Hindu folklore. These sculptures are on display as part of an exhibition and competition, with prizes awarded for the most beautiful wax carvings and best-decorated floats. This great gathering attracts artists from all around the world.
Every candle float represents a local temple or institution. In traditional costumes, musicians and dancers frequently accompany the candle parade. The area around Thing Si Mueang Park is transformed into a massive street fair with open-air marketplaces and food vendors. The winning candle float is displayed on the temple grounds for several weeks. Because Buddhists believe that nothing in life is permanent, all wax sculptures eventually melt down.
Tips for Visitors
Protect yourself from the sun: Grandstands are set up for spectators to watch the parade on the morning of Wan Kao Phansa. Viewers may use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun and rain, which can obscure the view of others seated behind them.
Arrive on time: The significant parade typically begins at 8 a.m. and lasts around three hours. It would help if you arrived at the venue an hour early to acquire a good viewing area. Standing in the same place for an extended period can get hot and uncomfortable.