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  1. #1
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    Loei Ghost Festival - Phi Ta Khon

    Ghostly guises
    Students from Keha Thung Song Hong Wittaya 1 School don Phi Ta Khon ghosts outfits and masks in Bangkok's Lak Si district yesterday, in a well-known festival from Loei, as part of a parade showing off the indigenous cultures of each region. The parade, commemorating the King's 79th birthday, also helps raise funds for the school's educational activities. Sarot Meksophawannakul
    bangkok post

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    South Korea to grace Loei ghost festival


    South Korea will showcase the mask dance of Andong city in Gyeongsang province at next year's Phi Ta Khon ghost festival in Loei.

    Vira Rojpojchanarat, permanent secretary of the Culture Ministry, said yesterday South Korea had invited Thai officials to join the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo being held in Cambodia's Siem Reap from November 21 to January 9.
    Thailand suggested South Korea bring the Andong mask dance to the Phi Ta Khon Festival in early June. Korean officials agreed to send about 25 dancers to join the famous ghost festival in Loei's Dan Sai district, he said.
    Then Thailand would send its artists to the Andong Mask Dance Festival in September to perform a Khon dance from the Ramayana epic and the Phi Ta Khon parade, Vira said.
    Since Andong is building an international mask museum, they would make room for Thailand to feature its mask dance history, which hopefully would encourage more Korean tourists to visit Loei, he said.
    Moon Hyung Suk, secretary-general of the International Organisation of Folk Art Asia, said the 10-day Andong Mask Dance Festival would be huge and Asian countries with mask performances including Indonesia would be there. The annual event was expecting to welcome up to one million visitors.
    Loei Governor Samroeng Cheucha-walit said he would discuss with the provincial council about extending the Phi Ta Khon Festival from three days to seven and increasing its scale by inviting neighbouring countries with masked performances to participate.
    The Phi Ta Khon festival - held as part of a great merit making ceremony in the seventh month of the lunar calendar - originated from a Buddhist fable about the generous Prince Vessandorn, the Buddha's penultimate incarnation. When the prince returned from his forest exile to the city to rule his people, the ghosts and spirits of the forest formed a procession to bid him farewell.
    There are two types of phi (ghosts).
    The Phi Ta Khon Yai is a pair of male and female effigies made by a group of people permitted by spirits to make the effigies every year or at least for three years in a row.
    The Phi Ta Khon Lek is a group of villagers dressed up as ghosts with colourful long-nosed masks made from coconut husks and woven bamboo streamers. They parade around for two days. Then the costumes and masks are disposed of, out of the belief that this performance is intended to honour superiors and sacred beings as well as to cleanse the village of bad luck.
    The Andong Mask Dance Festival takes place in the Hahoe folk village just outside Andong and features many types of masked dances including Hahoe, Unyul and Pongsan.
    It was said the mask dance was inspired by a divine revelation after the Hahoe folk village suffered from a natural disaster. The Hahoe mask dance performed by the common people consists of the ceremonies of kangshin (inviting spirits), ohshin (consoling spirits) and songshin (saying farewell to the spirits). For details, go to Welcome to Maskdance Festival 2006 !.
    Chularat Saengpassa
    The Nation

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    Mid
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    Revise ghost-festival clip, Thai minister orders
    Saturday, Nov 10, 2012



    THAILAND - Culture Minister Sonthaya Kunplome said yesterday that the "Gangnam Style" video clip advertising Loei province's famous ghost festival should be revised to ensure that it focuses on the country's cultural roots instead of fads.

    The clip was produced by Dan Sai Municipality to promote the annual Phi Ta Khon or ghost-mask dance, which marks the time when ghosts followed Phra Vessantara, one of the Buddha's incarnations, out of the forest.

    Sonthaya issued this statement on his first day at the Culture Ministry. He was given back the ministry portfolio now that he has completed his five-year political ban and his wife has been removed in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.

    The "Gangnam Style" moves created by South Korean singer Psy have become so popular that even Loei Governor Sompong Arunrojpanya believed that ghost-mask dancers should use them to promote the festival. Loei's next Phi Ta Khon festival will be held on July 10-12 next year.

    Santiparp Cheuboonmee, mayor of Dan Sai Municipality, said the clip also showed the province's tourist attractions. "Our culture is not hurt. I have done nothing wrong," he protested.

    Bangkok resident Son Wattanaphan, 60, said modern dance moves would add more colour to the annual festival.

    "I think the 'Gangnam Style' moves will help promote the festival at an international level," he said.

    The Phi Ta Kon Gangnam Style video clip can be watched on YouTube and had been accessed more than 20,000 as of press time yesterday. Yet Sonthaya insisted yesterday that it was necessary for him to issue policies that would ensure that young people know their cultural roots.

    asiaone.com

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