Island Life: Chak Phra Festival
Around October time, the Chak Phra Festival is held in Thailand celebrating the return of the Buddha from heaven and signifies the official end of the Buddhist three month rain retreat. As with any Thai festival food plays an important part. Enjoy our photographs from the southern island of Koh Pha-Ngan. Click on any image to enlarge it.
Professional Manora dancers from the ancient city of Nakhon Si Tammarat add color and fun to the island's "Chak prah festival" which celebrates the Buddha's return to earth at the end of the Buddhist three month Rain Retreat.
The red phallic-nosed masked demon dancer entwines the mythical manora with his rope. Manora dancing is indigenous to southern Thailand and is often performed as part of outdoor festivals.
A failed attempt to escape the rope of the masked demon. The most famous "Kinnaree" - a celestial being, half woman, half bird - is the figure known as Manora, a heroine from one of the stories of the past lives of the Buddha, known as the Jataka.
The Chak Phra Festival is held in many places in Thailand, usually on the 1st day of the 11th waning moon in late October. Part of the festivities include boat racing. The teams are made up of residents of the variouos neighborhoods and beaches of the island.
Women are well represented in the race, with colorful floral shirts being a favorite uniform for the Chak Phra festival.
This team of women launch their boat from the shore alongside one of the decorative boats which is used for the water parade as part of Chak Phra festivities.
Like most events in Thai society there is a wealth of food available. As usual, everyone's favorite, Pad Thai Noodles with Shrimp is on offer at the street vendor's stall. See our one click kit, to make your own Pad Thai
This exotic looking dish is black century eggs ("ky yiow mah"), a Chinese-style preserved egg, served here in a Thai-style salad. You may enjoy this amusing article on the topic: here
Muslim-style Chicken with Rice ("Khao mohk gai") is vibrantly colored yellow from turmeric. For a recipe see ucancookthai.com
Fresh mussels fried in an egg and rice flour batter ("hawy tawt") is found at festivals through out Thailand. If you are on a diet, it is best avoided! For a recipe see ucancookthai.com
This Chinese-style donut (เจี้ยนแด้) is very popular in Koh Phangan, as many of the original settlers of the island came from Hainan in China. This hollow fried dough is filled with mashed sweetened pumpkin, bean or taro root. See Wikipedia