In addition to the traditional masks, Dansai’s Thai ghosts wear square “cowbells” around their waist to warn people of their arrival. Many of the ghosts at the Phi Ta Khon Festival will also carry wooden weapons shaped like an oversize Phallus similar to Palad Khik, with a red painted head which they use to tease their audience.
Competitions are held for the best dressed ghost, best dancers, best masks and best little ghost etc, and of course there are costumes and masks on sale everywhere. On the 2nd day, rockets are launched to encourage the Gods to send the rains, and on the 3rd day the people gather at the temple to listen to the monks reciting the 13 sermons of the Lord Buddha before the Ghost Festival sadly comes to an end.
The origin of the Phi Ta Khon Ghost Festival comes from the tales about the Lord Buddha’s last life before he reached enlightenment. Legend has it that when Prince Vessandorn (as the Buddha was then known) returned to his city after being banished, he received such a rapturous welcome from all his people that even the spirits of the departed were woken and joined in the celebrations.