Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival set to light up city virtually

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Unique seasonal tradition moves online to mark start of Buddhist Lent.
Unique seasonal tradition moves online to mark start of Buddhist Lent.

This year’s Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival 2020 marks the start of the three-month Buddhist Lent period and is a tradition that has been unique to the city for over 100 years.

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While this year’s traditional parade has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the festival has moved its programme in line as a preventive measure during the ongoing pandemic, and it remains a key annual event on the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)’s calendar.



It is scheduled from 3 to 7 July, 2020, at the Thung Si Mueang area of Ubon Ratchathani Municipality and will still include a display of award-winning candles from 2019, both large and medium-sized carvings, for the public to view and enjoy.

However, participation is limited. Pre-booking online is required to attend the festival with a limit of 2,500 (500 walk-in) per day during three time slots (10.00-13.00 Hrs., 14.00-17.00 Hrs., and 18.00-22.00 Hrs). Advance online registration is available from today via this link (in Thai).

Mrs. Thanaporn Poolperm, Director of the TAT Ubon Ratchathani Office, said TAT recognizes the importance of the event to Ubon Ratchathani and to domestic tourism in general as the country begins to open to travel with significant changes.

“Although this year, since the UbonRatchathani Candle Festival 2020 cannot be held fully as in years past, it is important to remember the traditions of the Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival, so TAT has invited everyone to post past images to remember the time-honoured traditions from this famous festival.”



Through social media from the beginning of June until 7 July, 2020, under the concept of “KhitTheungThian, KhitTheung Ubon Ratchathani” or “Missing the Candle Festival, Missing Ubon Ratchathani”, the initiative has run over five weeks with five different activities. These include virtually visiting candle-making communities, candle carving, candle categories, antique candles, and images of past candle parade events that received the most votes each week. There will also be prizes from TAT for participants.

In addition, on 6 July, 2020, TAT is also organizing ‘Travel to Pay Respect to Buddha Images with New Normal’ activities all around the country targeting domestic tourism. This is part of a pilot programme of the new tourism normal in Thailand, where the whole tourism sector has collaborated to organize a ‘Local Culture, Thinking and Doing’ with complementary ideas and activities scheduled until mid-September 2020. (tatnews.org)