Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival
Ubon Ratchathani hosts the Candle Festival to mark the beginning of Buddhist Lent. This festival shows the people’s devotion to Buddhist tradition as well as their skills in carving magnificent candles. Buddhist Lent lasts 3 months and in this time the monks are confined to their temple grounds and dedicate their time to study, meditation, and prayer. Originally, a bundle of small candles was presented to the monks along with other basic essentials to use during this period. Over time, people started to carve the candles into beautiful shapes and in the reign of King Rama V, the Candle Festival and competitions associated with it were established to find the most beautiful candle. The Candle Procession, which takes place on Khao Phansa Day, features the Royal Candle sent by H.M. the King, and the ornately carved beeswax candles made by the local people. These are paraded around the city streets on floats. There is also an International Wax Sculpture Competition in which artists from all over the world display their works.
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Highlight: The candle competition features two categories of candles based on the method of decoration – beeswax candles carved on the surface, and candles with molded beeswax attached. The festival also includes a light and sound presentation, cultural shows, and displays of local artisans’ handcrafting and sculptures.