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Phi Boong Tao (ผีบุ้งเต้า)

Thai. ‘Ghostly gourd mask’. Name of a mask made from a calabash or gourd (fig.), known in Thai as nahm tao (fig.), which is colourfully painted into a giant's face (fig.), thus resembling a yak's khon mask (fig.). These gourd masks are used in an annual event in the amphur Phu Reua, in Loei province, held during Songkraan festival and in which people wear the masks in a parade and dance performances held, whereas smaller yak's face gourds are hung from the top of flag poles (fig.) with a long ceremonial banner made of cloth known as tung, of which the local style is made of square or diamond-shaped knitted patches strung together in rows (fig.). The festival is held as an offering to Phra Phuttha Nawa Banphot, a Buddha image (map - fig.) in Phu Reua National Park (fig.). Whereas the calabash is a symbol of good health, longevity, abundance and richness, the yak or giants are traditional Buddhist door guardians that protect venues from evil, and the tung is a symbol that signifies success and victory. Sometimes transliterated Phee Bung Thao or similar. See also Phi Tah Khohn.