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Thu 30 Mar 2017
Rub Bua Festival
Written by Panrit "Gor" Daoruang   
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 00:34

Bang Phli is a district in Samut Prakan which has an abundance of lotuses. The morning of the 14th full-moon night of October is the day before the end of the Buddhist Lent. Buddhists come here to pick the flowers for offerings to monks according to tradition. The people of Bang Phli regard this as great merit so they volunteer to keep the flowers for distribution to visitors who row to the district to receive them every year. This tradition has become the "Rap Bua" (lotus receiving) festival.

This festival has been handed down from one generation to another. Traditionally, local people line up both sides of the canal and throw lotus flowers onto the boat carrying the replica of "Luang Poh To" Buddha image. These lotus flowers are meant as homage to the Triple Gem - the Lord Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangka. Also, the Bang Phli local people will also throw lotus flower onto visitors’ boats as a gesture to invite them join in their merit-making.

The Legend of Luang Poh To

More than a thousand years ago, three brothers suddenly appeared floating down the Bang Pakong River near Chachoengsao Province. They weren't human brothers, but Buddha statues.Luang Poh To

No one knew where they had come from. The largest of the three continued floating down the river to the sea, where he followed the upper coastline of the Gulf of Siam, finishing his journey in the Mae Klong River at Samut Songkhram. There the local people invited him to come ashore and dwell in the temple of Wat Ban Laem, which he did.

The second brother-statue followed a similar course, but floated up the Chao Phraya River towards where Bangkok now stands and then along Klong Bang Phli at Samrong. As he passed the first temple along the canal, Wat Nam Daeng or Red Thorn Temple, the local folk tried to persuade him to enter the temple by lighting joss-sticks and worshipping him - but to no avail: he didn't stop and they were powerless to make him do so.

However, when he reached the next temple, Wat Bang Phli Yai, the people there first paid homage to him and then used a sacred white sai sin cord to try to pull him ashore. This time they were successful. Luang Por Tor, as he is known, is much worshipped.

The third brother came to rest on the bank of the Bang Pakong River at the spot where Wat Sothorn now stands. Again the local people tried to persuade him to come ashore, and again they were unsuccessful until they paid homage and tied a sai sin around him. After that they were able to pull him ashore.

Information from: "Thai Ways" by Denis Segaller. Published in Thailand by Post Books. 

Lotus Flower Receiving Festival of Bang Pli

You can see in these pictures that there were thousands of people on both sides of the canal throwing lotus flowers. It was an amazing atmosphere being there.