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  1. #1
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    Rub Bua Festival 2010 - Pictures and Maps



    They have recently started advertising the dates for this years Rub Bua Festival in Bang Phli. It is September 30th to October 3rd 2009. The main event is on the morning of the last day. You need to be at Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai along the canal by at least 7 a.m. Be prepared for thousands of people in the crowd. In the days running up to this event there should also be boat racing and other activities. I will be posting maps, tips and a full schedule on this thread soon. (Incidentally, the Chonburi Buffalo Races are usually the same day and as they are only an hour or so apart it is easy to do both events.)

    UPDATE: The next Rub Bua Festival is 22nd October 2010

    www.paknam.com/festivals/rub-bua-festival.html

    Rap Bua Ceremony - Steve Van Beek
    At the close of the monsoon season, the thunderstorms that have lashed Bang Phlii become a flower shower, and a time for celebration.

    A barge moves slowly down the town’s waterway, Khlong Samrong. Worshippers along the banks loft lotuses into it, so many that they nearly engulf its principal passenger: a large Buddha image. The image, a replica of the Luang Pho To in the nearby monastery, is the focus of this, the Rap Bua ceremony. Its journey recreates one of almost mythical proportions two centuries ago. Thousands of Thais flock here each year at the end of the rainy season to honour it.

    And to have fun. In Thailand, solemn rituals are generally leavened with … well, levity, as though to relieve the sombreness of the rite. Folk dramas, sea boxing, his and her beauty contests, boat races, light-and-sound extravaganzas, food, and fairs are all an integral part of the rap bua festivities.

    Wat Bang Phlii, the main Buddhist monastery in a village of the same name, lies near the rivermouth town of Samut Prakan (Paknam), an hour south of Bangkok. Entering the monastery’s ordination hall, one encounters a large bronze, Sukhothai-style image that folk legend says miraculously came to rest here.

    According to village tradition, two centuries ago, three sacred Buddha images floated down the Chao Phraya, Bangpakong, and Ta Chin Rivers. Upriver villagers struggled to pull the images to shore, but they seemed to have distance destinations and resisted all efforts to dissuade them. The Luang Pho Sothon image eventually came to rest at Chachoengsao, the Luang Pho Wat Ban Laem in Samut Songkhram, and the Luang Pho To, in Bang Phlii.

    Three competing old stories consider the origins of the rap bua fete itself. While they contain the normal folktale inconsistencies and contradictions, there are also commonalities. All agree that rap bua is a Mon celebration — likely brought from southern Burma by Mon war refugees — and that Bang Phlii produces an abundance of beautiful lotuses. Moreover, the village has long been a pilgrimage spot for upriver residents to collect lotuses for the awk phansa observances. This special October day marks the end of the three-month ‘rains retreat’, during which monks have remained in their monasteries to avoid trampling rice plants on their daily walks, a practice that dates from the Buddha’s time. Awk phansa marks the end of their confinement and of the rainy season.

    The lotus is a powerful symbol in Buddhism. Representing the purity of Buddha’s teaching, it rises pristine from the mud in ponds and lakes to shine resplendently. Lotuses appear throughout Buddhist lore. When the baby Buddha took his first seven steps, lotuses sprang up beneath his feet. Buddha images rest atop symbolic lotuses and the finial of every monastery column is a lotus or a water lily.

    In the past, Bang Phlii accommodated its lotus-gathering guests by picking the lotuses for them hours in advance of their arrival. The guests’ boats would hove into port late at night, the passengers singing, dancing, and playing instruments. In the morning, the Bang Phlii villagers would present the newcomers with the lotuses (bua) they had picked and the visitors would receive (rap) them with grateful thanks.

    To commemorate the event, villagers organise a two-day celebration that begins on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon in the eleventh month of the lunar calendar (this year, October 2 - 4). The following morning, a replica of the famed image is placed on a barge and towed down the canal where worshippers toss lotuses to honour it.

    After offering food to monks and listening to a sermon, celebrants turn to leisure, and there is no shortage of amusements: phleng rua (traditional singing in boats), folk plays like saba thoi and saba bon, beauty contests, traditional water sports, boat races featuring the mat (dugout boats) and ancient boats, a tug-of-war involving boats, and a boat-decorating competition with prizes awarded for beauty, creativity, and humor. A highlight is muay talay (sea boxing) where two combatants perched on wooden frames erected over the ocean try to knock their opponents into the water below.

    Of course, no Thai festival would be complete without food, lots of it. Chefs vie to see who can prepare the tastiest gourami (a local fish) and Thai dishes from various periods in history. The festivities end in the evening with the spectacular "Life on the Samrong Canal Bang Phlii" sound-and-light show.

    The next day, after the crowds have departed and the air has stilled, the lotuses return to their quiescence to grow undisturbed until the following year.

    Contact information:
    Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok Office
    Tel: +66 (0) 2250 5500
    Fax: +66 (0) 2250 5511
    E-mail: tatbangkok@tat.or.th
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Visit www.Paknam.com for pictures of the best tourist attractions in Samut Prakan Province

  2. #2
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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps

    I just noticed that the TAT website are advertising this event for the 2-4 October 2009. Not sure where they got this information from. The 4th October is the full moon and also Ohk Phansa (the end of the Buddhist three month retreat). The Rub Bua Ceremony is usually the day before the full moon which is the 3rd October. I will try and get this confirmed for you again. (BTW, they are also advertising the Buffalo Races for 4th October and this is always on the same day as Rub Bua.)

    UPDATE: The TAT are still giving these dates for the festival. However, I can confirm it is 30th September to 3rd October 2009.

  3. #3
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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps



    This first satellite image shows you the start (1) and finish (3) of the Rub Bua boat parade. The district office is at (2) and the parade pauses here for a ceremony led by the provincial governor. I will be going to all three locations. I first park my car on Theparak Road and take a short cut lane to the starting place for the parade. Once the boat passes I go back to my car and drive around to Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang. I then walked down through the temple to the district office. Once the boat passes here I then walk to the end of the parade route. You have plenty of time to do this.



    This is the start of the boat parade at Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai. The dark lines mark the positions of the thousands of spectators. Good place to take pictures of the crowds but you need to come early. Don't stand on the bridge as they clear it as the boat comes. The dotted line is the market and there is limited viewing from here.



    This shows the district office (2) and the end of the parade where the boats do a u-turn (3). At the end of the parade there is the least number of people and easier to find positions to take pictures. There is also no-one stopping you on the bridge.

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    Festivals in Samut Prakan

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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps



    This is the poster advertising the Rub Bua Festival - "Only one of the kind in the world". As you can see, the event is scheduled for 30th September to 3rd October 2009. I should be able to post the full schedule for the four day event very soon now. This is a major event and really worth going if you are in the area.

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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps

    I have some dates for the Rub Bua Festival:

    October 1st - Culture Show from 3 p.m.
    October 2nd - Boat Races from 10 a.m.
    October 3rd - Rub Bua Festival from about 7.30 a.m. (but be there an hour before). The opening ceremony at the district office is 9 a.m. However, the boat leaves Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai at about 7.30 a.m.

    There are other shows on each day and also muay talay (sea boxing).

  6. #6
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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps



    We attended the press conference this morning for the Rub Bua Festival. This took place at the Grand Inn Come Hotel near the airport. It was quite a big event with many different news organizations invited. They are really promoting the festival this year so expect countless thousands to attend. The TAT were also there as they had bussed in national media from Bangkok to the press conference. I saw their schedule and see that after the press conference they were taking them to a couple of local tourist attractions. What is strange is that the TAT had only invited local media. Obviously they thought (wrongly) that foreign tourists wouldn't be interested in this massive event. There were several hundreds news people there and I was the only international media present. The whole press conference and press releases, posters etc. were also only in Thai. So, it looks like that we will be the only people promoting this event in English with no help from either the TAT or local government.

    I will upload here more of our pictures later.



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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps



    This is Mr. Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, the Governor of Samut Prakan Province.



    This is Mr. Nipon Lertsrisuwattana, the District Chief Officer (Nai Amphoe) of Bang Phli District.



    This Mr. Pattanapong Chongrakdee, third from left, who is the City Mayor (Naiyok Tetsamontri) of Bang Phli.



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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps



    During the press conference we were given a taster of some of the acts that will take place during the Rub Bua festival from 30th September to 3rd October 2009. All of these pictures were taken by Panrit.













    This is the governor having a go at the human puppets. I have some video of the press conference and will upload shortly.

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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehzNBlxbGg8"]YouTube - Press Conference for Rub Bua Festival[/ame]

    This is the video from the press conference. You should be able to spot Panrit taking pictures a couple of times. He is the one in the pink shirt.

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    Re: Rub Bua Festival 2009 - Pictures and Maps

    This is a reminder that the main event of the Rub Bua Festival is tomorrow morning on Saturday. Here is the updated press release we just received:

    ชาวอำเภอบางพลี จังหวัดสมุทรปราการ ร่วมสืบสานวัฒนธรรมที่ดีงาม อนุรักษ์ ประเพณี รับบัว ประเพณีท้องถิ่นที่มีเพียงแห่งเดียวในโลก

    นายสุรชัย ขันอาสา ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัดสมุทรปราการ เป็นประธานเปิดงานประเพณีรับบัวประจำปี 2552 ณ บริเวณหน้าที่ว่าการอำเภอบางพลี

    ประเพณีรับบัว เป็นประเพณีเก่าแก่ ที่สืบทอดกันมาตั้งแต่โบราณ ของชาวอำเภอบางพลี จังหวัดสมุทรปราการ ที่แสดงถึงความมีน้ำใจ เอื้อเฟื้อเผื่อแผ่ต่อคนต่างถิ่น ที่อพยพเข้ามาอาศัยอยู่ในอำเภอบางพลี และแสดงให้เห็นถึงวิถีชีวิต ความผูกพันกับสายน้ำของชาวอำเภอบางพลี ที่มีมาตั้งแต่อดีตจนถึงปัจจุบัน ซึ่งจัดขึ้นเป็นประจำทุกปี

    โดยในวันขึ้น 14 ค่ำ เดือน 11 ซึ่งปีนี้ตรงกับวันเสาร์ที่ 3 ตุลาคม 2552 จะมีการอัญเชิญหลวงพ่อโตจำลอง ลงเรือแห่ไปตามลำคลองสำโรง เพื่อให้ประชาชนที่อยู่อาศัยบริเวณสองฝั่งคลอง และที่มาร่วมพิธีได้ร่วมสักการะบูชาโดยการโยนดอกบัวล งไปในเรือที่องค์หลวงพ่อโตประดิษฐานอยู่ มีความเชื่อกันว่า หากสามารถโยนดอกบัวลงไปในเรือที่องค์หลวงพ่อโตประดิษ ฐานอยู่แล้ว อธิษฐานสิ่งใดไว้ก็จะประสบความสำเร็จดังหวัง

    สมัยก่อนหนุ่มสาวจะใช้การโยนดอกบัว เพื่อเสี่ยงทายเลือกคู่ครอง แต่เนื่องจาก สภาพเศรษฐกิจและสังคมที่เปลี่ยนไปจากอดีต ประกอบกับการคมนาคมทางบก ที่สะดวกมากขึ้น ทำให้วิถีชีวิตของชาวอำเภอบางพลีเริ่มเปลี่ยนแปลงไป ดังนั้น เพื่อ มิให้ประเพณีรับบัว มรดกทางวัฒนธรรมที่ดีงามของชาวอำเภอบางพลีถูกลืมเลือ นไป อำเภอบางพลี จึงได้ร่วมกับหน่วยงาน ทั้งภาครัฐและเอกชน อนุรักษ์ประเพณีดังกล่าวไว้
    It is mainly updating the news that we have a new Governor of Samut Prakan, Mr. Surachai Khanasa, who will be opening the ceremony in the morning. I will be there to take pictures and video. Panrit will also be there at other locations along Samrong Canal so that we can get every angle covered. This is a major event and we expect to see several hundred thousands spectators coming to watch. I will post some more tips shortly.

    ------------------------
    www.paknam.com

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