The Lotus Festival in Thailand, also known as ‘Rub Bua’ to the locals, is an annual event that is usually held in the month of October. The festival takes place at Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli area on the banks of Klong Samrong. Thousands of locals, Thais from across the country and foreign tourists attend the festival each year which is also one of the most vibrant events in the country. It is actually very close to Bangkok Airport.
When is The Lotus festivalThe Lotus Festival marks the end of the Buddhist Lent. The exact date when it is held is the fifteenth day of the waxing full moon in the 11th lunar month in the Buddhist lunar year. People throng across the canal where a statue of Buddha is carried in a boat by monks and people standing on the banks throw Lotus flowers onto the boat. The boat sails from Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai and the idol of Buddha is known as the 'Luang Poh To'. It is normally a two day festival culminating with throwing lotus flowers on the final day.
Buddhist Lent is a period during the rainy season when monks stay at their temples and do not venture out. The period was so marked upon the instructions of Buddha. During the first few decades of Buddhism, monks would travel across farmlands, mountains and forests preaching the principles of Buddhism during the rainy season. During their journey they would step on rice fields and mistakenly crush rice crops beneath their feet thinking of them as grass.
The Buddhist Lent is the period from the 8th lunar month to the 11th lunar month when Buddha had instructed all monks to stay in the monasteries and temples. Another legend suggests that the formative years of the festival dates back to a period when the 'Bang Phli' area was only farmlands, marshlands and canals which had abundant growth of the lotus flower. The present day Bang Phli which has modernized considerably continues to commemorate the formative years of the area.
Local Valentine’s DayThe Lotus Festival in Thailand is also the local Valentine’s Day. Hundreds of young men and women line up the banks in anticipation of receiving a blossoming lotus flower. This is a sign of expressing interest and the recipient can hope of winning the heart of the one gifting the flower. The festival brings together religion, fun and frolic and is also a vibrant event with stalls selling artifacts and vendors selling numerous local delicacies.
Image credit: Suika