November 29, 2012

loi krathong

Yesterday was the full moon of the 12th month of the Lunar calendar which in Thailand is the Loi Krathong ( ลอยกระทงfestival. It is a annual holiday usually in November, that pays respect to the water spirits. Loi means to float and krathong is the lotus shaped flower boat-like flower arrangement which also includes insense, candles, and banana leaves. The krathongs come in all shapes and sizes and are made out of different materials like bread, palm tree trunk, and unfortunately, styrofoam. It was beautiful but hectic in the city and after a little bit of wandering and floating our krathong, we had to head home and hide from all fireworks and noise.

Last year we kinda missed this traditional Thai holiday, as it fell on my birthday and we were on an island in the middle of the gulf, escaping the floods. The celebrations were nothing like what I experienced in Bangkok last night! There were so many people out in the streets, lighting off fireworks, letting paper lanterns float into the night, the temples were open late and people everywhere were launching krathongs into canals and rivers. We wandered through all the stalls and watched lanterns floating into the sky all around us, jumping intermittenly when a loud firecracker was thrown by a motorbike into a sewer.  Thousands of krathongs littered the canals with wishes and dreams from devote (and not so much) Buddhist Thai people, and some foreigners too! It was mayhem in the main areas, far from the quiet roots of royal Siamese tradition. This holiday would never be allowed in America, environmentalists would be all over it and lawsuits flung around from firecracker mishaps. Yeah, this is something you can only find in SE Asia for sure...
The silver one was made for me by my students out of recycled cardboard.

our second Kratong in Thailand!
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1 comment:

  1. I love how colorful the flowers are! Must be so amazing to attend this ritual! :)


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