Phetchabun celebrates unique Buddha festival
One of the world’s most unique Buddha-related events, the “Um Phra Dam Nam Festival”, is currently being held in Phetchabun province, where it originated.
Um Phra Dam Nam in Thai language means “diving while holding the Buddha’s image”.
According to local legend, the festival began when a group of fishermen failed to catch fish and were resting on the river’s bank. Suddenly, a rapid current arose, and a golden Buddha idol happened to float by.
The villagers brought the image to the main temple of Phetchabun, but it disappeared mysteriously and was found back at its original spot on the river.
Since then the locals have celebrated the festival to pay their respects to the Buddha, in the belief that it will bring them happiness, peace and prosperity.
The annual festival began on September 23 and ends on September 28, and is being organised at four venues — Phetchabun Intrachai Archaeology Hall, Wat Trai Phum, Wat Bot Chana Mara and Phetbura Buddhist Park.
The highlight of the festival is a parade of the Buddha image, named "Phra Phuttha Maha Thammaracha", through the city, culminating in the person carrying the idol diving into the river. The event also features performances, activities and merchandise.
Thanks to the efforts of Phetchabun government agencies, this event has expanded from local to a provincial festival. Provincial agencies also aim to promote this festival among Asean countries in the future.