Ngan Duan Sib

Ngan Duan Sib (Tenth Lunar Month Festival)

September-October; 10th lunar month
In the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand, a festival is held during the tenth lunar month to feed the ghosts of ancestors for their annual visit among the living. Buddhist tradition holds that they reside in hell and because of sins they committed when they were alive, these spirits have very small mouths, which makes them constantly hungry. So during the Tenth Lunar Month Festival people try to placate the unworldly visitors with gifts and food designed to fit into tiny mouths.
A major event is a parade of food to the temple. Floats carry gifts and foods resembling such objects as clothing, coins, games, and boats—everything the spirits will need, including transportation back to their home. A popular sweet is called la, a toffee-like cookie or candy made from rice flour, brown palm sugar, and egg yolks thin enough to fit in the ghosts' small mouths. Tables are set up on the temple's front grounds to hold the food when the parade arrives. After allowing the ghosts a few minutes with the food, children are permitted to sample the treats.
It is traditional for children, and men, to dress up as ghosts and skeletons during the festival and prowl around, menacing people and begging for money—much like the trick-or-treating that goes on in the United States at Halloween.
CONTACTS:
Tourism Authority of Thailand
611 N. Larchmont Blvd., 1st Fl.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
800-842-4526 or 323-461-9814; fax: 323-461-9834
www.tourismthailand.org
SOURCES:
FestWrld: Thailand-1998, p. 20