Khonkaen Thai-Chinese Celebrate Spirit Festival

(21 August) The Chinese
festival dedicated to spirits of the dead is energetically celebrated in parts of Kon Khaen
Province, long famous for their communities of Sino-Thai heritage.

The Chinese ghost
festival, known in Chinese as Yu Lan and Wan Sart Cheen in Thai, is marked by burning of
papers and offerings of food to the dead relatives.

The focal points of the festival are
Peung Thao Kong Ma Shrine and the Khonkaen City Pillar Shrine, where the festival-goers pay respect
to the spirits of their ancestors and other kinless ghosts. They brought along items such as pork,
chicken, fruits, desserts, incense sticks, and candles to make offerings to the dead.

Many
believe that celebrating the ghost spirit at the Shrines would bring good fortunes to their
families.

The 3 major markets in the Province are full of Thai-Chinese shopping for goods
throughout the day, including the famous Bang Lampoo Market (not to be confused with the market with
the same name in Bangkok).

Prices of signature desserts associated with the festival, Khanom
Tien and Khanom Kheng, also decrease from last year. The pyramid-shaped Khanom Tien sells for 100
baht per kilogram this year, while the glutinous Khanom Kheng sells for 90 baht per
kilogram.

Khonkaen is home to many Thais with Chinese ancestry who migrated from China
decades ago. It is also a sister city to Nanning, a capital city of Guangxi province in China.