The Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival (ปราสาทผึ้งสกลนคร) is held every year at Wat Phra That Choeng Chum at the end of the Buddhist Lent, which is around Mid-October. The festival lasts 4 days, and is considered an important and unique merit-making tradition of Sakon Nakhon Province. Various temples around Sakon Nakhon make the castles, including Wat Sapansri, which is particularly noted for its skill on wax castle making.
The Northeast (Isaan) tradition of making castles with bees wax has been done since ancient times, and it is particularly popular in Sakon Nakhon. The reasons for the tradition are: 1. To pay respect to deceased ancestors 2. To make a wish to live in prosperity and happiness, with many angels around the family. 3. To gather the community together in a spirit of unity. 4. To reinforce moral principles as the way of life.
The Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival is is also related to the belief in Devorohana Day (the end of Buddhist Lent). This is the day that the Lord Buddha returned to the human world after preaching to the Buddha's mother in heaven. He considered there to be 3 worlds: human, heaven, and the underworld. And the Bees Wax Castles and Honey Tower give us the power to glimpse these 3 worlds.
Festival activities include a beautiful parade, folk dance performances in traditional dress, and boxing dances. These activities are held during the evening. However, you can see the wax castles during the daytime at the temple, which is located downtown. To stay up to date with events of the Wax Castle Festival and see live action photos, visit the Sakon Nakhon City Facebook page.