Plus size Thai women take part in beauty pageant to celebrate Buddhist festival

Plus size Thai women took part in a 'BBW' beauty pageant to celebrate the Buddhist Loi Krathong festival.

Twenty devotees, weighing a combined 4,500lbs, wore colourful silk costumes for the show in Trang, southern Thailand, on Tuesday night (November 12).

The region's annual beauty queen contest was normally open to all women, but this year the girls had to weigh more than 175 pounds. The heaviest competitor was 279lbs.

Local politician Sathit Wongnongtoey, who judged the event, said he was delighted with the beautiful women and the strong support from spectators.

He said: "This is the first time we have ever held the annual Loi Krathong beauty pageant specifically for overweight women. It was well attended by a large number of tourists this year."

One of the bizarre events at the show was a dancing competition, in which the women had to dance energetically to test how strong the stage was.

The top prize went to Siriya Puphansri, 28, who took home 15,000 baht (£386) in cash for her efforts. The first runner up Kingkarn Chuwacha won 10,000 baht (£257) prize and the second runner up Sripathum Suntoranon won 7,000 baht (£180).

Loi Krathong, or Loy Krathong, was said to have started in the 12th century in the ancient Thai kingdom.

Millions of devotees in Thailand and neighbouring countries, including Burma, Laos and Cambodia, now take part in the spectacle.

Meaning to float a basket, the event follows the Buddhists belief of paying respect to the religion's water goddess.

The festival takes place in the 12th month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar when there is a full moon. The exact date of Loi Krathong, also spelled Loy Krathong, changes every year.