When July comes around, Thailand has stepped into the rainy season, when crops and plants grow rapidly. In this season, there are many cultural events relating to Buddhist beliefs. Foreigners who are interested in learning about Thai culture and beliefs often visit the country in this season to participate in these religious events.
The “Buddhist Lent Day Candle Festival” originates from the Buddhist principle that prohibits monks from travelling during the rainy season as they might unintentionally step on crops that people are growing. To facilitate the monks’ three-month stay in their temple, people offer candles and other necessities to the temple. This has developed into the Candle Festival that is now celebrated in many provinces.
The best known Candle Festival is in Ubon Ratchathani Province. It’s called “Buddhist Lent Day Candle Festival” and is one of the grandest festivals in the northeastern region. There is a gorgeous candle procession in which people take huge candles carved into various shapes and patterns to temples to give to the monks. Apart from the candles, the procession also includes a beautiful cultural dance and singing that will capture tourists’ hearts.
Now let’s go to the central region and head to Ayutthaya to visit the “Buddhist Lent Day Candle Festival by Boat”, which represents the local people’s lifestyle that is deeply entwined with the river. Similar to the event in Ubon Ratchathani, there is a gorgeous candle procession but this time by boat, and it’s accompanied by cultural shows. This festive event is rich in culture and shows local people’s kindness.
Not far from Ayutthaya, another Buddhist event takes place in Saraburi, which is “Giving Flowers as Alms to Monks”. Instead of candle procession, here you will see a stunning and colourful flower procession. You can participate in giving flowers as alms to monks and learn about charming Buddhist customs.
Next, go north and visit Nan province to participate in another religious event called “Giving Candles as Alms to Monks”. In this event, people wear traditional clothes and prepare alms to give to monks including candles, flowers, and food.
The rainy season is when crops begin to grow. Therefore, cultural events in July mostly relate to agricultural communities and their Buddhist beliefs that have been celebrated for centuries. Although each region may celebrate differently, they still share the same core of Buddhist beliefs. For that reason, July is a month of religious events at which tourists can learn about Buddhism no matter where they visit.