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Phi Ta Khon Festival - Dan Sai - 2017

Discussion in 'N.E. Thailand Motorcycle Trip Report Forums' started by DavidFL, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. GTR%20-%20IMG_1730.

    4 years since my last Phi Ta Khon & wow, has this festival really taken off.

    Massive crowds on the main parade day & absolutely stunning, spectacular costumes & a colour extravaganza.

    In 2017 Phi Ta Khon went international with ASEAN troupes participating.

    It was branded as The International Mask Festival

    A lot more to come...
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  2. If you arrived at the festival on the Sunday for the main parade the crowds made it difficult to get clear photos without having to elbow your way through the masses.
    So the tip for Phi Ta Khon is to get their early - Friday the day before the parades start.
    Then Saturday they have a light introductory parade without he masses & it is a lot easier to get photos.

    The Cambodian International mask troupe




    The GF enjoying herself with the stars from Cambodia

    On stage performing

    more to come.
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  3. #3 DavidFL, Jun 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    The Malaysian International Mask Troupe










    But who are these people?

    They are the Mah Meri..

    The Mah Meri (Mah meaning people and Meri meaning forest), originally known as the Besisi, also call themselves Ma Betisek, which means, "people with fish scales". The Mah Meri are one of the 18 Orang Asli people groups designated by the Malaysian government; & are of the Senoi subgroup.

    There is no information on their origin, but the Mah Meri tribe claims to have walked the earth for as long as one can remember. They live in the states of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, and Johor, but most of them live along the coast of South Selangor from Sungai Pelek up to Pulau Carey.

    Part of the mystery surrounding their origin indicates they are ‘sea gypsies’ or ‘sea nomads’, the Mah Meri are said to have been a nomadic indigenous tribe that fled from the southern coast of Malaysia to escape attacks by pirates, settling in 10 different villages on Pulau Carey island, on the western coast of Malaysia. Their numbers have dwindled to about 2,000.

    The Mah Mari rely mainly on subsistence fishing supplemented by gathering marine products such as seaweed, shellfish and edible plants that grow on the island, which is separated from the mainland by the Langat river.

    They have an annual festival for ancestor worship, that involves an elaborate ritual with dancers wearing intricately-carved masks who perform the historic Main Jo-oh dance.

    The men don expressive masks carved from wood, which are similar to those made by Polynesian tribes, and wear a costume made of woven pandan leaves. The women dress in skirts, sashes and origami-like tiaras also made of pandan leaves.

    There is a Mah Meri Cultural village + info here
    About Us Mah Meri Cultural Village

    The Sun has a story & some images on their festival
    Stunning photos show the bizarre masks worn by remote Malaysian tribe to call on ancestral spirits during traditional dances
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  4. #4 DavidFL, Jun 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    The Philippines International Mask Troupe

    People from Bacolod city, the capital of Negros Island, who hold a MassKara festival every 3rd weekend in October.


    The festival first began in 1980 during a period of crisis. The province relied on sugar cane as its primary agricultural crop, and the price of sugar was at an all-time low due to the introduction of sugar substitutes like high fructose (corn syrup) in the United States. This was the first Masskara Festival and a time of tragedy; on April 22 of that year, the inter-island vessel MV Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod City, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank. An estimated 700 lives were lost in the tragedy.


    In the midst of these tragic events, the city's artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. They reasoned that a festival was also a good opportunity to pull the residents out of the pervasive gloomy atmosphere. The initial festival was therefore, a declaration by the people of the city that no matter how tough and bad the times were, Bacolod City is going to pull through, survive, and in the end, triumph.


    The mask motif of the festival has changed from masks influenced by native Filipinos to those influenced by the Carnival of Venice and the Rio Carnival. Earlier masks were hand-painted and adorned with feathers, flowers and native beads, while contemporary masks feature plastic beads and sequins.


    The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of mastery, gaiety, coordination and stamina. Major activities include the MassKara Queen beauty pageant, carnivals, drum, bugle corps competitions, food festivals, sports events, musical concerts, agriculture-trade fairs, garden shows, and other special events organized every year.


    If you want to know more about MassKara in the P.I.

    Masskara Festival Bacolod City Negros Occidental Philippines

    Bacolod MassKara Festival 2008!

    The 2016 Festival Schedule
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  5. #5 DavidFL, Jun 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    The Korean International Mask Troupe

    Korean masks have a long tradition with the use in a variety of contexts. Masks are called tal (Hangul: 탈 ) in Korean, but they are also known by many others names such as gamyeon, gwangdae, chorani, talbak and talbagaji. Korean Mask come with black cloth attached to the sides of the mask designed to cover the back of the head and also to simulate black hair.


    They were used in war, on both soldiers and their horses; ceremonially, for burial rites in jade and bronze and for shamanistic ceremonies to drive away evil spirits; to remember the faces of great historical figures in death masks; and in the arts, particularly in ritual dances, courtly, and theatrical plays. The present uses are as miniature masks for tourist souvenirs, or on cell-phones where they hang as good-luck talismans.


    There are two ways to categorize masks: religious masks and artistic masks. Religious masks were often used to ward off evil spirits and the artistics masks were mostly used in dances


    Masks which use for dance in Korea are about 250 types and they vary in shape. Masks in central district usually look pretty and similar to human face more and in the southern province masks are for satire and Shamanistic.


    The often horrifying or grotesque masks were used in shamanistic practices for their ability to evoke fear, and humour, in ceremonial rites. The masks were often made of alder wood, with several coats of lacquer to give the masks gloss, and waterproof them for wearing. They were usually also painted, and often had hinges for mouth movement.


    Typically one sees the following some of which are designated as national cultural properties.The Hahoe, Sandae and Talchum are all traditional Korean mask dramas of ritual and religious significance.


    Hahoe Byeolsin gut is a kind of exorcist play while performers wear mask such as yangbantal (nobleman), bunetal, seonbital (scholar), gaksital (bride), chorangital, halmital, jujital (head monk), jungital (monk), baekjeongtal (butcher), and imaetal.
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  6. The Indian International Mask Troupe









    Apologies for the lack of Indian mask info.
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  7. The Indonesian International Mask Troupe

    Performers from a Reog Ponorogo dance.


    Reog is a traditional Indonesian dance. There are many types of Reog in Indonesia, but the most notable ones are Reog Ponorogo (East Java) and Reog Sunda (West Java). Although both share a similar name, there is no connection nor similar theme among these traditions.


    The Reog Ponorogo seems to be a kind of dance that demonstrates physical strength and extravagant lion-peafowl mask and costumes, while Reog Sunda is a lot more like a traditional musical dance and comedy.



    The Reog dance of Ponorogo involves a lion figure known as the singa barong.


    The Singa Barong is a large mask usually made from a tiger's or leopard's head skin, on the mask is a large fan adorned with real peafowl feathers.



    The Singa Barong mask is notoriously heavy and the dancer of the Singa Barong has to carry the mask of about 30 – 40 kg in weight and is supported by the strength of their teeth.


    A single dancer, or warok, carries the heavy lion mask by his teeth. He is credited with supernatural abilities and strength. The warok may also carry an adolescent boy or girl on its head. When carrying an adolescent boy or girl on his head, the Reog dancer holds weight of up to 100 kilograms in total. Holding the heavy big mask by biting, the warok relies on the strength of his jaws, neck and shoulder muscles. The great mask spans over 2.5 meters with genuine tiger skin and real peacock feathers. It has gained international recognition as the world's largest mask.




    There's an annual Reog Ponorogo festival in Ponorogo city, East Java, in the second half of the year sometime (from what I can gather.)

    Some more interesting info

    Reog Ponorogo, Jawa Timur, Indonesia ~ Tourism Of Indonesia

    Colorful Indonesia: The Trance of Reog Dance

    The Performance of Reog Ponorogo

    Reog Ponorogo, Originate Culture from Ponorogo, East Java - Indonesia

    Reog Ponorogo - Indonesian Cultures

    Reog Ponorogo Dance from Indonesia - History and Development - Facts of Indonesia

    Grebeg Suro Ceremony In Ponorogo - Traditional Event Of Ponorogo
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  8. David, the ceremony nowadays seems to bear no resemblance to that of years gone by. It looks to be now simply an 'International Mask Festival'. Where is the buddhist ceremony & blessing marking the beginning of the festival of fertility? I'm lost!
  9. Rod that spirit ceremonial side of Phi Ta Khon is still there, but having seen it a couple of times starting at 4AM it has lost some of its appeal as I get older.
    Ive got pics of the Thai parade participants coming, but I was very interested in the new ASEAN aspect of the festival this year.
    BTW the crowds are massive now & it aint easy getting photos, plus fighting your way through the crowd to get a few snaps can get tiring, especially if you have seen it all before around 15 times.
    Getting into the spirit ceremonies was easy 15 years ago - hardly anyone there, but it is a real battle amongst the photographers nowadays.
    So I just concentrate on what I thought was easier.
    You should come back for another one.

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  10. The Lao International Mask Troupe



    somewhat underwhelming in comparison to the others & I wondered what was & what happened to the budget?

    I thought there would surely be some ghosts from Luang Prabang or Xayaboury as below

    A mystery to me.

    more to come...
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