11/15/2008

Loy Krathong Festival


The monks at the Yee Peng Sansai Ceremony for Loy Krathong at Mae Jo.


Loy Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November.

The Celebrations last for days! This festival represents a symbolic letting go of all one's grudges, anger and sadness, so that one can start life afresh.







Our first celebration for Loy Krathong, was at Mae Jo University. Frank and Becky had arranged a trip out to the Buddist Ceremony of Yee Peng Sansai, the festival of hanging lanterns, which is held there. This is a festival of light, held in homage to the Lord Buddha.

This was an amazing sight. First of all came the processions, then the monks were seated on a circular dais and prayers were chanted, calling for peace in the world, before thousands of people lit their lanterns and let them float into the sky.

As you can see from the photos, Glynn, Becky and Frank finally managed to launch their lantern, although it was not easy, there is obviously a technique!


'Elf and Safety would have a field day here! The heat for each lantern is generated by a circle of wax which is set alight. As the lanterns rise into the sky, hot wax drips down. I carry proof, as a lump of hot wax dripped onto my arm! Also, the odd lantern burst into flames, causing some consternation among the crowd!

The lanterns are constructed using traditional bamboo formed into hoops and then coated with either tracing paper or Saa Paper made from the branches and leaves of the mulberry tree. A small candle or ring of wax, is placed in the base which provides the hot air that fills the paper envelope and floats the lantern gently skywards. These giant hot air balloons, called Kome Loy, rise into the sky like huge orange lanterns. Some people attach fireworks to them and then they leave a sparkling trail.

Thousands of lanterns floated into the sky.

All this week, firecrackers have been sounding through much of each night. So many firecrackers that, at times, it has sounded as if there is a civil war going on!


Another aspect of this festival is the sending off of the 'krathongs' down the river. These also symbolise the letting go of all misfortunes and sorrows in life and beginning anew. The word 'loy' means to float, and a 'krathong' is a banana leaf cup. People place a candle and incense sticks in their krathongs and then float them on a local river or pond. As they push away their krathong, they ask for forgiveness in polluting the waterways and also for good luck in the coming months. They also do it to honour and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.



On Wednesday, Glynn, Margaret, Harry, Janet and I went to Regina's restaurant by the River Ping to launch our krathongs into the water and to float more lanterns into the sky. It was such a magical evening, with fireworks, floating lanterns and krathongs sailing off down the river. Loy Krathong is a truly mystical and magical festival.


Me about to launch my krathong, (notice that I am holding on tightly so as not to fall in the water!)


Margaret and Harry prepare to float their krathong.

2 comments:

  1. Wow Mum, you are looking fantastic!!!! Keep doing whatever it is as you seem to be getting younger. Looks like loads of fun wish we were there!!!

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  2. The festival of light looks absolutely beautiful - glad that you managed to avoid falling in the water! xxx

    ReplyDelete

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