Wax Castle Festival
The Prasat Phueng parade, or Wax Castle Festival, is a unique event celebrated solely in the northeastern province of Sakon Nakhon. This year, the festival will take place from October 20th to 21st, marking the end of the Buddhist Rains Retreat or Vassa.
On this occasion, local artists compete to sculpt intricate parade floats of Buddhist temples, shrines, or castles out of beeswax. The wax castle parade runs through town until coming to a stop at the temple of Wat Phra That Choeng Chum, where it is set up for worshipping.
Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival has been scaled down to a limited parade and worship ceremony at Wat Phra That Choeng Chum on October 20th.
Similarly to Lai Ruea Fai, the Wax Castle Festival has its origins in Gautama Buddha’s return from Trayastrimsa heaven. According to Buddhist lore (🇹🇭), he descended to earth after Vassa, giving a glimpse of heaven. In that moment, commoners beheld a majestic castle where angels reside.
The Wax Castle Festival, therefore, honors the angelic palace of Trayastrimsa heaven, and people pay homage to the sculptures in the hopes of receiving heavenly blessings and to be rewarded after death with living in the castle.
Wat Phra That Choeng Chum
As recorded in the ancient chronicles of Urangkathat, the sacred site was built to enshrine the esteemed footprints of the four incarnations of the Buddha: Kakusandha Buddha, Koṇāgamana Buddha, Kassapa Buddha, and Gautama Buddha. It is also believed that the fifth incarnation, Maitreya Buddha, will come to press his footprint in the future.
According to “The History of Prasat Phueng (🇹🇭),” nearby communities were originally responsible for the temple’s upkeep. These communities are referred to as, Kha Phra That, or servant of the Buddha relics, and thereby is exempt from paying tax.
As the communities grew, respect for the temple reached new heights. Wat Phra That Choeng Chum became a religious icon for Sakon Nakhon and a vital part of the local way of life, long after their legal obligations to the temple were lifted.
The festival itself is known for its variety of unique local experiences, from traditional performances, music shows, the wax flower stick exhibition, food stalls, OTOP product sales, and the Phu Phan Viewpoint cycling tour.
Apart from that, the province also hosts a long-boat racing competition for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorna’s trophy at Nong Han Reservoir.
COVID-19 Disclaimer: The activities described here may be suspended due to movement and gathering restrictions as prescribed by COVID-19 health precautions.