The Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation is spicing up its annual Vegetarian Festival, adding international dishes to complement traditional pan-friend noodles and moving a related event in deference to neighbors.
This year’s Pattaya Festival will run Oct. 4-14 as usual at the Sawang Boriboon headquarters in Naklua. But its “Pai Hor Hia Teeh” ceremony to make merit for people who died without living relatives to bury them will move to the Naklua Forest after years of complaints from residents about the smoke and traffic caused.
Sawang Boriboon President Visith Chaowalitnittithum (2nd right) and Prasith Thongthicharoen, president of the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan relief team (2nd left), along with the organizing committee announce this year’s Vegetarian Festival.
The festival’s opening ceremony, however, remains unchanged from previous years.
A dual-pronged “Kiew Aung Huk Jow” and “Bhodistava” parade kicks off at 12:19 p.m. Oct. 4 at Bali Hai Pier and runs up Walking Street. The parade group then splits, with half following Beach Road to Central Road and turning right. The second branch travels along Second Road, stopping at Mike Shopping Mall for a dragon show, then meeting the first group at Central Road.
Reunited, the groups move to Third Road and the local TOT Public Co. office where marchers will board buses for Sawang Fah Pritaram Temple where the parade will again set off past Naklua Market, Lan Po Park and finish at the Sawang Boriboon vegetarian hall for ceremonies honoring Chinese gods.
Beach Road will be closed to traffic from 12:30-3 p.m. and Second Road will have one lane removed.
Services, as usual, will be followed by food, a communal meal for 5,000 attendees called “Khao Phad Thip Paed Sien Hongtae” fried up in a giant pan. The dish contains specially ordered Kiam Le drops as well as ginkgo and cashew nuts, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, dried bean curd and vegetarian seasoning. It will be served with 5,000 peaches.
This year, however, the Eastern Chefs Association will contribute top cooks from 50 area hotels to prepare a menu of international dishes to complement the traditional Chinese noodle dish.
The other change from previous years will see the location for the October 12 ceremony for dead without relatives. Sawang Boriboon President Visith Chaowalitnittithum said smoke, ash and bits of paper from burning offerings in the “Phukhao Ngern Phukhao Thong” (“gold and silver mountain”) consistently blew across neighbors’ yards. Combine that will hellacious parking and long lines and the backlash grew to the point the foundation had to move the ceremony out of the residential neighborhood.
“We decided to move the venue to Naklua Forest, which is far away from the community and is spacious,” Visith said. In addition, he said, the “mountain” furnace will be shrunk by 20 percent to ease transportation and reduce waste.