An ancient tradition of Northeast Thailand that celebrates the Buddha’s return

Thailand festivals Hae Krathup Tradition

September 5, 2016 By Richard

Thailand festivals Hae Krathup Tradition An ancient tradition of Northeast Thailand that celebrates the Buddha’s return

Author: Josh@Asiabackpackers

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Thailand festivals Hae Krathup

When: 13 – 16 October 2016

Where: Nong Bua Daeng District Office, Chaiyaphum Northeast Thailand

The annual Hae Krathup Tradition, (งานประเพณีโฮมบุญ ออกพรรษา “แหกระธ  ูป”) also known as the light Incense Festival, is a three day event, unique to the area and which takes place annually prior to the end of Buddhist lent; Wan Ok Phansa. This is the time of the year, when Thai Buddhist monks are again able to wander freely, after spending the previous 3 months confined to their monasteries, during the period of Wan Khao Phansa.


Thailand festivals Hae Krathup

Won Ok Phansa Day (16th October 2016), is possibly the most important religious day in the Thai calendar; it celebrates the return of Lord Buddha, after he spent time preaching to His Mother in the Tavatimsa Heaven. This event is in part a portrayal of his descent from heaven and an imitation, of the scenes when he was greeted by his followers and disciples.

The Krathup is a symbolic reference to the Buddhist “island” or “continent” of the terrestrial world and the gigantic Jambu tree, that lays at its center; Jambudvipa.

The Krathup, come in all manner of sizes and shapes, reaching a height of around 3-6 meters. They traditionally have a center spire made from bamboo to which is added further spars and cross beams, from these beams a vast assortment of both plain and decorative coloured paper garlands are hung, these at times immense structures, also contain decorations of intricately folded palm leafs. The whole structure is then added, to a brightly decorated float, featuring more colourful garlands, along with equally dazzling cloth and at times flowers and plants. The completed Krathup are on display through-out the day and night, where they take on a new life bathed in an eerie glow from the candles carried by many of the onlookers and the small lamps, that are amassed around the feet of the structures.


Thailand festivals Hae Krathup

The garlands are infused with home-made incense, derived from a number of locally found plants and coconut, which have been firstly cut and dried and then mixed with coco peat, before being liberally added to the garlands.

Smaller hand held incense sticks are carried by the participating crowds on the last day at the Hae Krathup procession, (see picture right) these mellow smelling incense sticks are lit providing a sweet fragrant backdrop to the closing day, as people from all over the province join in the procession dressed in their traditional clothing and accompanied by a whole host of dance troops, in their immaculate local costumes. Mixed in this sea of humanity are a number of the smaller Krathup that gently sway as if they were truly a Jambu tree caught in a gentle breeze.

The 3 day event also hosts numerous cultural performances in both music and dance, along with a traditional fair and contests for the best Krathup. Of course as this is still Thailand, the whole town will be awash with stalls selling all manner of local produce and handicrafts.


For information on the event contact Nong Bua Daeng District Office Tel 0 4487 2123, 08 6879 0287 or at the local district. TAT office in Nakhon Ratchasima call 044213030 or 044213666
E-mail:  Www.facebook. com / tat.korat


Thailand festivals Hae Krathup

Celebrations across Thailand

Celebrations at this time of the year are conducted through-out Thailand, with a vast array of different, vibrant festivals that sit hand in hand, with the religious rites, to mark the occasion of the end of the Buddhist Lent; each has its own uniqueness and is known by many names. In Thailand’s south the people celebrate this most auspicious occasion with their very own festival of Chak Phra (Phum Pha Pa), while also in the south the people of Phatthalung Province, go mad with drums in the Phon Lak Phra Festival.

The north has its spiritual Tak Bat Devo Festival, featuring hundreds of Buddhist monks. The province of Sakon Nakhon features the amazing Wax Castle possession, while in the north east province of Nakhon Phanom you will find the dazzling Fire Boat Possession. Central Thailand offers you the chance to be part of the Lotus Flower Festival and in the Mae Hong Son Province, of North West Thailand you can be part of the uniquely Tai-Yai peoples event, that of the Chong Para Festival. Not forgetting throughout the Kingdom you can witness a whole host of Longboat races and festivals.