At The (Buffalo) Races | Bangkok Post: multimedia

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Exclusive to Thailand, the Buffalo Racing Festival takes place at Ban Bung, Chon Buri. The festival has been held for the past 139 years and traditionally marks the end of Buddhist Lent.

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Traditionally farmers would gather at local temples to offer alms to monks and sell their produce. To kill boredom, they came up with the novel idea of engaging their buffaloes in an annual race.

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The rule is simple; the quickest buffalo to the finish line wins, provided its rider manages to avoid being thrown off the back of his mount during the race.

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Riders are young men from the local community who earn around 100 baht per race. Some, particularly the audience, would argue the fun part is when the rider falls from his mount.

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One winner this year was four-year-old "Mouen", a young male buffalo. The racing is divided in various categories according to age of the animal. Only male buffalos are allowed to race.

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Owners take special care of their prized racing buffalos. Prior to the competition, the animals are fed nutritious food such as porridge, milk and eggs, rather than their normal diet of either fresh grass or hay.

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Aside from the racing there are also two beauty contests; the Nong Nang Ban Na (country girl beauty contest) and a competition to see who can create the most spectacular outfit for their buffalo.

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Each year Chon Buri is home to the annual Wing Kwai or Water Buffalo Racing Festival. Traditionally held at the end of Buddhist Lent this year marks the 139th anniversary of the festival. Photos by Somchai Poomlard.

  • Published: 22 Oct 2010
  • Total views: 5,415

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