Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Local Community Participation in the Conserve Candle Festival, a Case Study of Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Local Community Participation in the Conserve Candle Festival, a Case Study of Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand

Article excerpt

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine local community participation in the conserve candle festival for sustainability, and to study development guidelines for local community participation in the festival. We used quantitative and qualitative methods. For the qualitative method we provided 400 questionnaires and analyzed them using mean, standard deviation, and Chi-Square tests. For the qualitative approach, we used an invited focus group, including an academician, a businessman, government agencies, and a local philosopher, to discuss and identify development guidelines, and we performed data analysis using descriptive analysis. The results indicate that local community participation in the conserve candle festival for sustainability is important, since the conservation and restoration of the Ubon Ratchathani candle festival is a cultural tourism attraction. However, the local government invited residents to a candle festival meeting at a low level (S.D. = .828); participants in planning (S.D. = .785); had knowledge and understood history (S.D. = .794); community was subsidized from government (S.D. = .811), community acknowledged conservation and restoration (S.D. = .923); government emphasis on community participation in conservation and restoration (S.D. =1.06); and community participation in the transfer of historical and traditional knowledge to the public (S.D. = .756). The guidelines for local community participation in the conserve candle festival for sustainability iterates six goals: 1) transfer knowledge of local culture to local youth; 2) encourage the museum to be the center of local cultural learning; 3) print pictures and descriptions of the candle festival in student notebooks; 4) transfer knowledge of the candle sculptors and carvers to youths; 5) the provincial government should support local philosophers in candle sculpture and transfer their skills and knowledge to local youth; 5) encourage the establishment of the temple as a candle festival learning center; and 6) encourage community enterprises to produce goods and products that communicate the candle festival

Keywords: community participation, conserve, candle festival, ubon ratchathani

(ProQuest: ... denotes formula omitted.)

1. Introduction

The development of cultural tourism as a generator of income and a recognized form of tourism has emerged as an objective of both heritage institutions and tourist operators across Thailand and around the world. Challenging economic times have compelled cultural and heritage sites to explore ways and means to increase attendance levels and self-generated revenues and to control operating expenditures. Cultural festivals in Thailand are famous around the world; for example, the Songkarn festival is the water festival and the Loy Krathong festival is a festival when candle-lit offerings are floated in the rivers. The candle festival at Ubon Ratchathani province in northeast of Thailand is one festival that is recognized by local and international tourists. The candle festival is the region's largest religious ceremony. It is celebrated yearly by the city on Asalha Bucha Day and Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent) Day. The ceremony is held at Thung Si Muang and Chaturamuk Pavillion, a park in the middle of the city, which is decorated and then candles are exhibited in the evening. On the same evening, there are small processions with lighted candles at several temples (Naipinit & Maneenetr, 2013).

However, the candle festival in Ubon Ratchathani faces many problems, including a lack of financial support from the local provincial government; high production costs (approximately 13 000 USD per a big candle for one temple, while the government supported 1,600 USD per temple); and while candles are produced by sculptors and carvers, business agencies and the provincial government do not support them, so fewer people want to become carvers and there is a risk in losing local wisdom (ASTV Manager Online, 2006). …

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