The Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival

When I was first told about the candle festival by my wife she thought I might want to see and photograph a large parade made up of 2 story tall candles. I said yes, it was a good idea, but I want to go the day before and photograph the candles being made. This led to a week’s worth of research by our driver, fixer, and friend Boy. Finally, we decided to just go to Ubon Ratchathani the day before the parade and ask the locals where to go to find the candle makers.

We left my home in the afternoon and spent the night. In the evening some of the large candles were already on display, giving people an opportunity to see the candles up close.

It was very easy to find people making the giant candles as we drove through town. With the help of my driver and fixer, with his ability to translate, we were able to find several locations where the candles were being made.

The candles are made, and a large parade is held in celebration of Asahina Bucha Day, the day that celebrates the Buddha’s first sermon and the day after which is Wan Khao Phansa, the beginning of Buddhist Lent, the time when monks are confined to their home temples.

Building a two-story-high wax candle requires a large area to make and assemble the parts. After the candle is made then there is the problem of getting it to the parade.

We spent most of the day visiting several locations where monks and helpers were building and putting finishing touches on the candles.

The next day we went to the parade which is held on the main drag of Ubon Ratchathani. If you are going to attend I would suggest you get there early as it is a long parade and quite crowded.

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