Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monkeys Feast In Lopburi

monkey banquetIn the Thai village of Lopburi, hundreds of locals gather to greet the primates as they arrive to enjoy a lavish annual feast which includes some 2,000 kgs of fruit, cookies, candy and Thai desserts.

According to the town's legend, the domain of what is now Lopburi, once belonged to Hanuman the Monkey King. Locals are delighted that centuries later, some 3,000 monkeys still rule the area around the town's most sacred sites.

The annual banquet is organised by the town's local hotel. The manager says the aim of the party is to thank the monkeys for attracting tourists and business to Lopburi.

Local Hotelier Yongyuth Kitwatananuson said, "Each year we celebrate by preparing a monkey banquet. Every year as we make the monkey banquet, it seems like our business also gets better."

Although the monkeys live in downtown Lopburi and are not afraid of humans, they are far from being domesticated and their table manners leave much to be desired.

Sitting in the middle of the table and initiating a food fight seems to be standard practice during a monkey lunch. And, if you're lucky, for dessert, you might even manage to hog an entire ice block filled with fruit.

Despite the nuisance of having thousands of monkeys scampering about town, there is no question that the annual event brings joy to the local villagers. According to Thai beliefs, donating food to monkeys is a way of accruing good karma.

Story here.

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