Ubon Ratchathani and Candle Festival History Show

The other night at the Ubon Ratchathani Cultural Center I attended a show that is intended to support the Ubon Rachathani Candle Festival. The title of the show is, “Ubon’s Enlightenment”. It was jointly sponsored by the Cultural Center and Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University. The event was MC’d by a local radio station personality.

Thai celebrities at Ubon Candle Festival Cultural Show

Thai celebrities at Ubon Candle Festival Cultural Show

It began with a series of instrumentals which had been composed by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The tunes were performed by a band from Rajabhat. These songs were followed by a few Ubon Ratchathani residents who are also Thai celebrities, an actor and two singers. The actor, I was told had a series on Thai TV for 10 years and he also played the part of the head monk in Nong Khai in the Thai hit movie, “Full Moon Party”. This is a movie about the sacred fireball phenomena in Nong Khai each year during the full moon in November. I actually have seen this movie in Bangkok, it was in Thai but had English subtitles. It also had Thai subtitles when the actors were speaking Isaan.

Ubon Ratchathani Mulam Singer Performing for Candle Festival

Ubon Ratchathani Mulam Singer Performing for Candle Festival

The singers were both Mulam style singers, one male and one female, which is from Isaan. The songs were great and lively, which is one of the reasons I love living in Isaan as opposed to other parts of Thailand. All three also played parts in the skits later on in the show.

"Ubon's Enlightenment" cast in costume

Ubons Enlightenment cast in costume

Also included in the program were some Chinese cultural dances. The first one used a sort of puppet to do some amazing things. The second was call a Chinese Mask Dance. The participants would “magically” change the masks on their faces while performing the dance. It was very interesting and amazing. My personal opinion though, is that these should have been dropped from the show as they had nothing to do with Ubon Ratchathani or the Candle Festival.

Local Celebrities as Ubon Monks

Local Celebrities as Ubon Monks

The show began in prehistoric times using the cave paintings from Khong Chiam to make the point. Then the timeline slowly moved forward, showing events and fashion from the periods in the history of Ubon. The Lao and Khmer influence were also made evident. A one time the area which is now Ubon Ratchathani was a minor Kingdom with a separate ruler.

Sapphasit A local powerful and influential hero from Ubon's historic past

Sapphasit A local powerful and influential hero from Ubon's historic past

After some battles the King of Siam requested Ubon join him and seems after that there was peace. Elsewhere there was fighting and Ubon was asked for its help in battling the invaders. The men of Ubon proudly went to aid and many gave their lives to protect the kingdom. The gist I got from the show was that Ubon has contributed a lot to the economy and security of Thailand.

Lovely Isaan Ubon Girl Doing Showing Traditional Dance and Dress

Lovely Isaan Ubon Girl Doing Showing Traditional Dance and Dress

The skits evolved to showing the history of the Candle Festival in Ubon. Also shown were significant individuals including a monk and a consort. The show ended with the Royal Anthem and the bouquet presentations to the guest celebrities. I very much enjoyed the show. It didn’t seem like it lasted the two hours my watch said it did. My only recommendation would be to offer at least one program with English narrative in order to attract the many foreign tourists who come here to experience the Ubon Ratchatahani Candle Festival.

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