Phra That Phanom festival postponed

Phra That Phanom festival postponed

The famous chedi at Wat Phra That Phanom Woramahawiha.(Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)
The famous chedi at Wat Phra That Phanom Woramahawiha.(Photo: Pattanapong Sripiachai)

NAKHON PHANOM: The annual festival of Phra That Phanom, a highly-revered pagoda at Wat Phra That Phanom Woramahawihan beside the Mekong river, has been postponed because of the new wave of Covid-19.

The temple is a major Buddhist pilgrimage site, known for its soaring, intricate chedi and annual festival.

This year's festival was scheduled for Jan 21-29.

After consultations, the committee overseeing the temple's affairs decided to postpone the event. It was tentatively re-scheduled for Feb 19-25, or until the Covid-19 situation has been resolved.

The Phra That Phanom festival usually attracts a lot of people from both sides of the Mekong river. The temple committee was worried such a large gathering could aggravate the spread of the virus.

The festival is traditionally packed with religious events. They include a sacred ceremony where worshippers wrap a long piece of cloth around the chedi, said to contain the Buddha's breastbone.

Stringent anti-Covid measures are being enforced by the provincial communicable disease committee. People arriving in the province from high-risk provinces must enter 14-day home quarantine.

Transfers of people and cargoes through four temporary border checkpoints with Laos - in Ban Phaeng, Tha Uthen, Muang and That Phanom districts - are not allowed.

Transport of goods across the border can be made only via the 3rd Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which links Nakhon Phanom and Khammouane province in Laos. Cross-border travel by tourists and local people is prohibited.

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