Thao Thepkasattri - Thao Sri Suntorn Festival
The grand Thao Thepkasattri - Thao Sri Suntorn Festival is celebrated with passion in the Thai island of Phuket. The celebrations commemorate the bravery and patriotism of two sisters, Thao Sri Suntorn and Thao Thep Kasattri who valiantly rallied the residents of Phuket to protect the island from Burmese invaders. Today the celebrations are focused on the 'Two Heroines Monument' in the island.
The festival's highlight is undoubtedly the sensational dramatic presentation which depicts the personal history, courage and leadership of the two sisters. This elaborate play makes use of 700 actors and is presented on several nights. Although this cultural presentation is intended for a Thai audience, visitors are welcome to view the show; a translator will be beneficial.
Many cultural events are associated with the festival, one of which is the 'Upasampada' ceremony which marks the ordination of a Buddhist monk. Other interesting features include a shadow puppet show, a sword dancing demonstration and the chanting of typical Thai lullabies.
Not to be missed is the great variety of delectable Thai cuisine which is on offer for the visitor. Handicraft creations such as silks, batiks and ornamental wooden items may be purchased.
Several sporting events are organised in conjunction with the festival, including takraw (similar to volleyball, but played using the feet), bicycle racing, a mini marathon and a tug-o-war. Another highlight is the dynamic Thai boxing presentation which also includes a 'Wai Kri' ceremony which demonstrates the Thai boxer's gratitude and respect towards his instructor.