Monkeys don’t need to be drooling over the scraps of leftovers from tourists when they have a day set aside to feast until their heart’s content. In central Thailand, organizers plan an annual Monkey Feast Festival for the animals and the hungry creatures gathered around to fill their tummies.
The festival is an annual tradition in Lopburi, the provincial capital, and is held as a way to show gratitude to the monkeys for bringing in tourism.
As part of the event decor, there are rows of monkey statues holding trays outside the Ancient Three Pagoda. The monkeys are welcomed with open arms as the volunteers get busy with the food preparations to serve the real monkeys.
Monkeys are seen fighting each other for a bite of food and crowds of people join the festival to see the event unfold. Although it was a vegetarian meal with no meaty flesh, the monkeys were happy to devour the meal.
“This monkey feast festival is a successful event that helps promote Lopburi’s tourism among international tourists every year,” said Yongyuth Kitwatanusont, the festival’s founder. “Previously, there were around 300 monkeys in Lopburi before increasing to nearly 4,000 nowadays. But Lopburi is known as a monkey city, which means monkeys and people can live in harmony.”
Harmony was the true spirit of the festival as the crowds of monkeys and people mingled with one another. There was no hesitation or fear as a visitor recalls, “There was a monkey on my back as I was trying to take a selfie. He grabbed the sunglasses right off my face and ran off on to the top of a lamppost and was trying to eat them for a while.” The shades might have been the dessert after the wholesome meal.
The festival concludes on a strong note and the monkeys don’t have to beg for food when they are treated as the honorary guests.