Ubon Ratchathani Umbrella Festival 2007

Today I had the honor and privilege of joining the First Annual Ubon Ratchathani Umbrella Festival. The beginning of the rainy season is the logical time to hold this event as the umbrella’s will be put to a lot of use in the coming 3-4 months.

Ubon Ratchathani Umbrella Festival (Candle Festival)

Ubon Ratchathani Umbrella Festival (Candle Festival)

I found some good seats up 3 levels which offered a good view of the parade route and easy to get out if nature called or if anything was needed to eat or drink. As the time passed the bleacher filled up and then people began lining up along the barrier that was meant to be security to keep people off the street.

More Entries for the Ubon Ratchagthani Umbrella Parade

More Entries for the Ubon Ratchagthani Umbrella Parade

Finally the parade began at 9:30 and I was glad to see I had a good place to watch and take photos. It had been raining in the morning but the rain stopped and the sun was peeking out. It was getting a bit warm but that is part of the experience. But I noticed that the people standing at the barrier decided to deploy their umbrellas. There were so many of them. Big ones, small ones, ones with designs, cartoon themed umbrellas and a wide variety of colors. It was a rainbow for sure.

And More Umbrellas

And More Umbrellas

The people in standing along the barrier proudly displayed their umbrellas for all who sat in the bleachers to see and admire. Also the participants of the parade had a good view as well. The umbrellas did a good job of blocking the sun from the small percentage of the crowd and also did an excellent job blocking the view of all who were sitting to watch the parade.

even more umbrellas

even more umbrellas

Of course I am being a bit sarcastic here. I was actually there to watch the glorious Ubon Ratchathani Candle Festival 2007 Parade. The time for the craftsmen to showcase their pieces of art and let the public seem them up close and personal. Also local school groups took the time to rehearse local dances to show the crowd. It was hot and they had to wait a long time to begin the procession. They deserved to been seen and admired.

and the winning umbrella is.......

and the winning umbrella is.......

I love Ubon and call it my home. I am proud of the work everyone does to prepare for this event. I do my best to also promote it to people I come in contact with from outside of Ubon. I was sitting next to 3 foreigners who came to experience the Candle Festival. They seemed excited to see the candles and the dancers and also document their memories. After about an hour of seeing so many umbrellas blocking their view they decided it would be better to go have a beer then to put up with the discourtesy.

Umbrellas enjoying the candle festival parade

Umbrellas enjoying the candle festival parade

Why would some people be so selfish and thoughtless as to interfere with the enjoyment of the masses. The other Thai people were too polite to say anything even though they couldn’t see the parade well. There seemed to be a matter of “grayng jai”. The umbrella group also insisted on walking through the crowded walk way with their weapons deployed poking other people in the head.

Umbrellas for all occassions

Umbrellas for all occassions

If you have a showcase event and want people to come and join in it would seem you should make it good for all. It would be a simple matter to ban umbrellas and could be easily enforced as there was an army of security lining the inside of the barrier. This is Thailand and the sun gets hot, but there are wide brimmed hats that could easily give protection from the sun.

Umbrella anyone?

Umbrella anyone?

To anybody and everybody who came to Ubon to see the Candle Festival Parade I apologize on behalf of the residents and expats of Ubon. I hope it didn’t dampen your spirits and you go away with negative feelings.

A lovely umbrella field in full bloom..

A lovely umbrella field in full bloom..

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