The Monkey Buffet Festival

Festival Celebrated in Thailand


   The Monkey Buffet Festival is a tradition that was organized to celebrate and show gratitude towards the monkeys and what their ancestors had done for them. This is a tradition is held on the last Sunday of November, among the ruins of the Phra Prang Yot temple in Lopburi, Thailand. During the festival, people offer vegetables, fruits, and all types of food to the monkeys that live around the ancient temple. This is celebrated annually to honor the local long-tailed macaque (monkeys). From what began in 1989 by hotelier Yongyuth Kitwattananusont, the Monkey Buffet Festival was launched with the help of Tourism Authority of Thailand. Over the years, the festival has grown larger with people and expanded to include larger numbers of primates. This species of monkeys is said to be the descendants of God Hanuman, the greatest devotee of Lord Rama. More than four tons of fruits and vegetables are served to these macaques. 

   Like the other events in Thailand, the food plays a private role, and it’s not all about the monkeys. There are food stalls available for visitors as well. So, while the monkeys enjoy their feast, visitors can check out several food stalls with a long and wide range of local Thai delicacies. Once the monkeys have satiated appetites and gotten used to the cheering crowd(s), they can and most likely will get very boisterous and create a ruckus. Visitors are warned to watch out for the petulant macaques, as they can cause quite the stir when they start mischievously latching onto your belongings. This festival starts off with an opening ceremony that includes performances by dancers in monkey costumes. When the monkeys arrive, hosts remove sheets from the banquet tables, revealing decorative spreads of vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables. The monkeys jump across the tables and climb towering pyramids of watermelon, durian, lettuce, pineapple, and many more, indulging in the nearly two tons of offerings.  

   The respect for these monkeys goes all the way back at least 2,000 years to the epic tale of Rama, a divine prince, and his struggle to rescue his wife, Sit, form the clutches of a demon lord. The tale says the monkey king Hanuman and his army helped rescue Sita. Since that time, the monkeys have been appreciated as a sign of good luck and prosperity. Lopburi’s annual buffet is one way people show their appreciation.