Surin Province, known for its majestic elephants and vibrant cultural heritage, has once again captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike with its splendid “Candle Festival” in 2023. The event, a collaborative effort between government agencies, public and private sectors, aims to preserve and promote the rich traditions of Surin Province while enticing Thai and foreign tourists to immerse themselves in the region’s unique allure.
Marking the calendar from July 31 to August 1, 2023, the Candle Festival commenced with an elaborate opening ceremony on July 31 at the Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang Monument in Mueang Surin District. Dignitaries, including the Governor of Surin Province, Mr. Phichit Boontan, presided over the ceremony, expressing heartfelt respect by offering cones, flowers, joss sticks, and candles before the portrait of His Majesty the King. The mayor of Surin eloquently articulated the objectives of the event, signaling the commencement of the mesmerizing candle parade.
The parade, a harmonious amalgamation of government agencies, educational institutions, and temples in Surin Municipality, proceeded through the streets. Each participating entity showcased their unique dance procession, exuding the essence of Surin’s cultural heritage. The city streets were adorned with candle trees, a spectacular sight crafted by various temples, reflecting the devotion and creativity of the locals.
The highlight of the Candle Festival was the procession of 53 regally adorned elephants, beautifully decorated with cloth and ornamental accessories. Proudly displayed by the Surin Provincial Administrative Organization, the elephants were the focal point of the event, embodying the province’s deep-rooted connection with these gentle giants.
As the radiant sun graced the horizon on August 1, 2023, the merit-making activity commenced at the monument of Phraya Surin Phakdi Si Narong Changwang. At 7:19 a.m., the ceremony’s president arrived at the area, signaling the commencement of spiritual rites. Incense and candles were lit to pay homage to the Triple Gems, and the joyous occasion witnessed monks seated on the back of elephants, ready to receive alms from the devoted attendees. The heartwarming sight of monks walking with alms further elevated the spiritual significance of the event.
The Candle Festival in Surin Province not only celebrated the age-old traditions and cultural heritage but also fostered a sense of unity and pride among the local community. This grand spectacle has undoubtedly cemented itself as an iconic event on Thailand’s cultural calendar, enticing visitors from far and wide to witness the splendor of Surin Province and the sacred bond between its people and elephants. As the candles illuminated the path, the enduring spirit of Surin Province shone bright, touching the hearts of all who were fortunate enough to partake in this mesmerizing extravaganza.