Yon Bua Festival

One of the favourite festivals in Thailand is the Rub Bua Festival in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan. In English, the festival translates as “Lotus Receiving Festival”. However, it has another name in Thai which I think describes it more accurately. This is “Yon Bua Festival” which translates as the “Lotus Throwing Festival”. This is basically what happens as countless thousands of local people line the banks of Samrong Canal to throw lotus flowers onto a boat carrying a replica of the famous Buddha image Luang Poh To. This year the event is on Friday 18th October 2013. Rap Bua or Yon Bua Festival is a tradition long inherited by the people of Bang Phli held annually on the 13th day of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month and early next morning. The main feature is the respect paying and procession of the Luangpho To image both by land and water.

If you want a good spot then you must go early. The boat carrying the Buddha image isn’t scheduled to pass the front of Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai until after 7.30 a.m. But if you turn up at 6.30 a.m. you are too late as it is already very crowded. All the best locations are usually taken. It is on days like these that you really need to be a tall person in order to see over the heads of people. The route of the boat covers a distance of only 1.6 kms but it takes them over 100 minutes from start to finish. Most people go to Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai which, for obvious reasons, has the best atmosphere. But you can also watch the boat parade from Bang Phli Old Market, the District Office and Wat Bang Phli Yai Klang.

The boat carrying Luang Poh To isn’t the only one on the canal. Following close behind are about five or six large colourful floats. Some are towed while others have its own rowers all wearing traditional Thai costumes. In addition, there are several hundred smaller boats belonging to local people. Some stay moored by the banks of the canal while others go up and down. As the boat carrying the Buddha images approaches, people bring the lotus flowers up to their face to say a short prayer. Then as the boat draws nearer they then do their best to throw their lotus flower on to the boat carrying Luang Poh To.

Yon Bua Festival