Probably the most strange festival celebrated all across the globe, the Monkey Banquet festival celebrated in the Lopburi province of Thailand is something which you do no get to see everyday. Held on the last Sunday of November this festival is a way to thank the thousands of monkeys inhabiting the town, chosen by the locals of Lopburi.
How it all started?
It all began in the 1980s, the idea was to provide ample food to these primates to thank them for bringing tourism to Lopburi.
With the passage of time the event has grown in terms of size and popularity, as thousands of tourist both from all over Thailand and those visiting the country gather to witness this one of a kind event and indulge in the festivities. Just like every other Thai festival, food has a very important role to play; with street vendors & food stalls filling up the festival there is are a lot of the local delicacies that you can enjoy.
Often described by the locals of Thailand as “monkey-town”, the place is heavily surrounded by monkeys, with their favorite hangout spots being the Sarn Phra Karans shrine and the Phra Prang Sam Yots Khmer temple. When traveling this town one must be very cautious about the fact that the monkeys are expert at snatching valuables from the visitors.
This unique festival was started by the owner of the hotel Lopburi Inn as a way to thank these macaques and to do so, he even placed a giant statue of a monkey in front of his hotel. The monkeys are regarded to be the decedents of the Hindu god Hanuman, who was a devotee to Lord Rama. The festival begins at 10 in the morning, with a welcome speech given by the towns governor, upon the completion the monkeys are invited to feast upon the buffet of exotic dishes prepared specially for them. It is upon a long table dressed in red velvet that the buffet is laid out for the macaques, timid at first they try to behave as decent as possible, but it takes no long for them to create ruckus and indulge in a food fight.
The spirit with which the locals celebrate the festival does not make you feel bored at any point of time. Surely this is the most unique festival that is celebrated all around the world, be a part of these festivities and enjoy this distinctive event.