Temple Fairs

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29The annual temple fair or Ngaan Wat is usually held by most temples nationwide especially in the countryside in order to raise funds for the repair or the construction of new buildings in the temple compound. During the fair national and religious flag poles are erected along the small road leading to the temple side by side so as to direct the visitors to the correct temple.

However, do not be confused between Ngaan Wat (Temple Fair) and Ngaan Fung Luk Nimit (A fair held to bury round stones in the ground to mark the sacred limits of a consecrated assembly hall or Uposatha), as Ngaan Wat is held annually by any temple that wants to raise funds for certain purposes and, at the same time, to provide an opportunity for the villagers to make merit through donations and applying gold-leaf on the Buddha statues after the end of the harvesting season.

Ngaan Fung Luk Nimit, on the other hand, can be held only one time by each temple that has just completed the construction of its new Uposatha, either to replace the old one or the temple has just acquired an Uposatha for the first time, in this case, the Fung Luk Nimit ceremony must be performed, otherwise, any important ceremony such as ordination if held in it will be null and void. Thus, the Fung Luk Nimit ceremony must be performed, otherwise, any important ceremony such as ordination if held in it will be null and void. Thus, the Fung Luk Nimit ceremony is a religious necessity and it is the greatest temple fair that draws hundred of thousands of people from nearby and afar to make merit and enjoy various entertainment offered on the temple opened-ground.

Similarly, these fairs may go on for several days and nights, with food and souvenir stalls, assorted games, outdoor movies, country music bands, folk theatre (or Likay), ferris wheels, freak shows and eerie wonders like the female spirit who allegelly haunts banana trees or “Nang Tanee” in Thai.

After the sunset, the sound of music from powerful loudspeakers can be heard from a long distance away as if it wants to lift up the spirits of the villagers to come back again after a long period of hard work in paddy fields. Now, it is time to make merit and to enjoy the best time of their life again.

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