Boat racing festivals are quite common in Thailand covering most of its states including Chainat, Saraburi, Singburi, Mukdahan, Chumphon, Nakorn Sawan, Phichit, Nan, Phitsanulok and Narathiwat, that put in order long boat races annually.
Its become more of a tradition to the Thai people that follow a backing story of the old man Qu Yuan. He is said to have had taken his life by jumping into the river after being completely disappointed by his country’s government. The local people then rushed towards the river in their longboats to find him but in vain.
People also brought drums and bugles to scare away any water creatures that might harm Qu Yuan. They also send an offering of rice to please his poor soul. The Thai people follow this tradition by establishing longboat races and different boat exhibitions from more than 600 years.
The Festival takes place all Throughout Buddhist Lent season, starting from August and Lasting Up to October. Though the dates may vary around years, most of the races are held on the weekends starting from mid-day to the time of the sunset. Since its rainy season farmers are free of chores and there is a low proximity of tourists in towns that increases the joy and easy-going festivity of the festival.
The Races are of three categories: large wooden longboat races with 55 oarsmen, medium-sized long boat races with 40 oarsmen, and small-sized steel long boat races with 36 oarsmen. The competition is held between people from around the area gathering almost 40 to 50 boats to race in the competition.
Around the mid of the Buddhist Lent, Luang Prabang holds the first major boat racing festival later on others follow and the final race marks the Xieng Ngeun Area. The Boat rowers are specially trained to upskill themselves for the time of the race. The preparations start earlier to cope with the competition that will be faced during the festival.
This festival inaugurates around the time when rivers are high in tides and contains more water than normal. Other than boat racing people also decorate their boats, present offerings of rice and many other festivities. There are also water parades along with the races.