Festival of Lights
Loy Krathong is a major Thai holiday celebrated all around the country. It essentially involves lights, being floated, to celebrate and pray to the gods. Loy means “to float”, and a krathong is the small vessel, made from banana leaves, that is floated. Thais release krathong into rivers to celebrate and give back to the river. There is generally a candle and three incents sticks on the krathong. One says a prayer, and then releases the krathong to the river. The actual Loy Krathong took place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai Lunar Calendar, about two weeks ago. But the festival was going on for about two weeks before that. And for whatever reason, in Chachoengsao, our quiet little street was where the festival was centered – except for the actual night of Loy Krathong, where the road that runs along the river in Chachoengsao was crazy. But for a solid 10 days our quiet little street was turned upside down; street vendors, massive crowds with motorbikes of course trying to get through, late night K-pop being bumped right outside our apartment, it was great fun. Except of course for those of us that wanted to sleep… Oh and did I mention lots of fireworks. Lights right.
The actual festival its self we went and participated in, and it really was very cool, and beautiful.
In the north, the do things a little different. It’s still a festival, except it’s called Yi Peng, a Lanna light festival corresponding with Loy Krathong, but taking place on the full moon of the Lanna calendar. (Lanna was an ancient Thai northern kingdom.) For Yi Peng the float Khom Loy, which means “floating lantern”. These are the giant, awesome, floating lanterns that are released by the thousands, and th most famous image when people think of Loy krathong – even though technically they don’t have anything to do with Loy Krathong. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to get photos of this, it was all the way in the north; I know, sad day… But there are photos of my local Loy Krathong. I also snapped a few frames of film during the festival, but I don’t know when or where those will be developed…
Above: Full moon on Loy Krathong.