Although there are various races settled together in Mae Hong Son, various cultures, beliefs, and traditions; however, the people still respect, and honor in their differences; there is unity and stay with happiness all along. When any festival or tradition, whether it will be of any race, the people will unite as one to make the activity always goes smoothly. End of Buddhist Lent Day Festival is another one of the most important festivals of Mae Hong Son; it is a tradition and religious belief, held together in every district in October of every year. The districts which held a grand, beautiful, and get much attention from the tourists are Muang Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang, and Pai districts. Though it is one of the same religious beliefs, but names and ceremonies are a little different.

The end of Buddhist Lent Festival will be called “Poi Lern Sib-ed” in Muang Mae Hong Son district. The villagers begin the ceremony by building a “Chong Phara” or castle in front of their houses decorated with beautiful lamps to welcome Buddha back from pleasing his mother in heaven. After that the villagers will buy things preparing to give alms to the monks that are always called “Tak Bat Tawo”; monks will walk in a long row from the top of the hill, which located of Pra That Doi Kong Mu Temple, to receive alms from the villagers who line up along the ways. In addition, there still be candle procession, and pine parade by chopping it into small pieces and put together to make a high timber, to offer to the temple finally. There are music and arts performances and many various dances; both sides of the street will be nicely decorated with beautiful candle lamps.

The end of Buddhist Lent Festival will be called “Poi Aok Wa” in Mae Sariang district. The ceremony will be similar to “Chong Phara” or castle will be built in front of the villagers’ houses decorated beautifully with candle lamps. Things will be prepared to give to the monks by the villagers. However, the difference from the other place is that in Mae Sariang district will build the facade which called “Rachawat Facade” or bamboo facade in front of each house with beautiful decoration. Before dawn the villagers will give alms to the monks in front of their houses without any image of the monks walking in a long row to receive the alms like the other places but the image of monks in each temple walking and receiving the alms back and forth along the streets of Mae Sariang town instead. Throughout the duration of the event, at night there will be nice decoration with candle lamps along various streets and also other entertainments.

In Pai district “Poi Kad Lu” will be called for End of Buddhist Lent Festival. Began by all houses creating “Chong Phara” in front of the houses embellished with candle lamps, as the other districts do. The quite difference, and bustle from the others is that before End of Buddhist Lent day every house will prepare food, sweets, flowers, and other offerings to make a merit at the temple, give alms to the monks, and put into Chong Phara. Therefore, the villagers from many villages will bring fruits, vegetables, flowers, food, sweets, consumer products, and other products sold in the markets or “Kad Lu” in the Shan language, the villagers will go to buy from dawn until night. The markets will be brightened with candles and torches; moreover, there will still be activities and several performances for tourists to see throughout the event.

The way of life, cultures which have never changed with time, colorful of lamps that embellished along both sides of the streets, the image of people giving alms to the monks dressing in local dresses, great spectacular performing arts believe that will impress visitors unforgettable.

Chong Prara Festival
Chong Prara Festival
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