A cool breeze in October is a sign of the beginning of the winter season. The weather is perfect for going on a trip and finding new experiences. Let’s head to the Esan region and experience their culture through various cultural events.
Our first stop is in Nakhon Phanom at the “Illuminated Boat Parade Festival”, a cultural event related to the Buddhist beliefs that Esan people have been practising for many years. In the event, people decorate boats with colorful lights and take them along the river. It is believed that it is a practice to worship the Lord Buddha’s footprints and Naga, as well as showing gratitude to Khong Kha goddess who protects the rivers. It is also believed that floating the illuminated boats will take misfortune away and let it go with the water. Visitors get to watch magnificent illuminated boats floating on the Mekhong River as well as light and sound shows. Enjoy shopping for local food and goods that represent local people’s lifestyle, which is deeply entwined with their religion.
Next, head to Nong Khai to see a famous cultural event that forges a bond between the people, the river and a deity. The said event is the “Naga Fireball Festival”. Every year at the time of this event, fireballs shoot up from the river into the sky. Local people believe that these fireballs belong to Lord Naga, who lives in the river. It is also tied to Buddhism in the sense that Lord Naga shoots these fireballs to pay respect to the Lord Buddha who returned to the human realm from heaven. Many tourists and local people come to the river to see the fireballs and enjoy the festival that is held after that. There is also a walking street, a long-tail boat race, and a firework display.
Esan people have passed their strong belief in Buddhism from generation to generation through their cultural events. This is proof that their life, religion and beliefs can’t be separated from one another, and it represents the coexistence of their multi-faceted culture that gives tourists a new experience.