Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Adrian Simpson0
Top Banana Buffet! The Lopburi Monkey Festival
For many of us the phrase 'tea party' conjures up images of civilized British celebrations and we have probably all had our fair share of them this year, complete with the obligatory red, white and blue colour scheme of course. Tea parties are usually pretty refined, the wildest thing happening tending to be someone's Nan putting on a Prince Phillip mask and falling over drunk after one too many gin fizz's. But really how crazy can a tea party get? Well, if you're attending the annual Lopburi Monkey Festival in Thailand, then it might get pretty wild.
Image courtesy of Yahoo Travel
At this party you might witness gangs roaming the streets, you may be the victim of pick pocketing, and upon entrance you will even be given a stick to warn off any potential threats (after paying your 30 Baht entrance fee). What's worse is that you probably won't be allowed to eat any of the glorious spread that's on offer, and you certainly won't able to calm your nerves with a good cup of tea (if it's not red label it's not for me). But fear not terrified backpackers because gangs and pickpockets are certainly a whole lot less scary if they are a tenth of your size and covered in fur.
Images courtesy of The Newshopper
Yes that's right! It's not a tea party for you, or for me, or for any royalty, it's a festival held in honour of the monkeys that roam the streets of Lopburi. 'Why?' You are asking, 'Why would you hold a festival for a group of monkeys?' Well, the answer is threefold a) In line with Buddhist tradition, the people of Thailand see the monkey as a hero (insert banana-man joke here) that brings prosperity and good fortune b) It's a sort of thank-you to the monkeys for enticing thousands of tourists to the town each year. And c.) Well, it's just really cute isn't it?
Images courtesy of The Telegraph
If you have visited Thailand before or even if you have simply seen The Hangover Part II, you will know that monkeys are integral to Thailand's culture and after years of the little rascals roaming the streets of Lopburi, a local man called Yongyuth Kitwatananusont decided it was about time that they were rewarded. And rewarded they are!
The festival takes place around the main Khmer Temple and consists of 'human monkey dances' (You know, human monkey dances) and a huge delicious spread laid on (for the monkeys) of cucumbers, eggs, vegetables and of course, the obligatory bananas. But don't think that these monkeys don't have to work for their meal, oh no, to show their appreciation for the 4,000 kg of food on offer the monkeys must create a din by screeching, fighting and fornicating on the table tops. Appetising.
Image courtesy of World Festival Directory
So, if in this jubilee year you're looking for something a little different to decorative napkins, dainty sandwiches and scones with jam, and if you're willing to undergo the threat of possible mass monkey attack then this could be just what you're looking for. But remember, no matter how hungry you get, don't touch their food. Ever. Don't say I didn't warn you…