As the seasonal monsoon rains descend over the kingdom, it marks the beginning of the Buddhist "rain retreat" and the Buddhist Lent, or "Phansa", during which all Buddhist monks retreat to the temples. This is also an auspicious time for Buddhist ordinations as it marks a period of spiritual renewal.

Known as "Khao Phansa", the Buddhist Lent is a time devoted to study and meditation. Buddhist monks remain within the temple grounds and do not venture out for a period of three months starting from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month (in July) to the fifteenth day of the waxing moon of the eleventh lunar month (in October).

As Ubon Ratchathani province prepares for the Buddhist Lent, men folk, ordained as well as laymen, with artistic skills set about the task of moulding and sculpting Lenten candles. As these works of art are to be presented as Buddhist merit-making offerings, the artisans pour their heart and soul into their craft. Many of these are fine examples of Buddhist art and sculpture. The candle festival is unique to Ubon Ratchathani province and the customs and traditions related to this Buddhist festival have been diligently preserved by local communities.

Date: July 2012

Location: Ubon Ratchathani