NONG KHAI, 25th October 2018 (NNT) – Over 400 fireballs were witnessed shooting up from the Mekong River in Nong Khai province’s Rattanawapi district during the Bung Fai Phaya Nakfestival, yesterday marking the end of Buddhist Lent (October 24).
The phenomenon, believed by locals to be the mythical Naga paying tribute to the Lord Buddha, began with three fireballs appearing at approximately 6.17PM. Over the course of the evening up to 408 of the orbs were counted, 260 in Rattanawapi and 148 in nearby Pon Pisai district.
Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Udon Thani Office Seksan Sripaiwan reports that viewers of the phenomenon in Nong Khai and Bueng Kan this year were up 20 percent from last year following a push to attract tourists to the provinces to view their cultural and faith-related attractions. The Bung Fai Phaya Nak festival is estimated to have generated 100 million baht in cash flow this year.
In Nakhon Panom, residents and visitors joined in the tradition of Lai Rua Fai , setting off boats carrying flames to signify the burning of past grievances and suffering, as well as to honor the Lord Buddha and the spirit of the river. Tourism officials have used the festival to promote additional attractions in the province.
National News Bureau of Thailand