Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is a picturesque annual festival to give thanks to the water Goddess by floating beautifully handmade krathongs. It is believed that the krathongs carry away all the sins and misfortune of the previous year, giving the new year ahead a fresh start. It takes place on the evening of the full moon of the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, and luckily for us, that happened to be November 28, when we were in Bangkok.

Throughout the day we saw people crafting and selling beautiful krathongs, some made of elaborately folded banana leaves, and decorated with flowers, candles, and incense; others made of intricately sculpted and painted bread; and others still made from a coconut shell filled with candles. When evening fell, we wandered over to a riverside park near our guesthouse, carefully selected our krathong, and waited for our turn to have our kratong lowered into the river. In hindsight, I'm glad we chose a flower krathong, because the ones made of bread swell up rather quickly and fall apart...

On the walk home we saw people setting their krathongs adrift on side canals, and as we stopped to watch, we could see lanterns floating into the sky, as Loy Krathong also coincides with Yi Peng, a festival of merit-making where paper lanterns are lit and set off into the sky. I'm so glad we were there to see and experience this beautiful festival!

One of the many krathong competitions we saw that day.

Long poles equipped with a slotted platform carried the krathongs down to the water.