Tuesday, November 30, 2004

LOI KRATONG is the festival I celebrated last Friday night.

Every year in Thailand, on the full-moon of the 12th lunar month, Thailand celebrates Loy Krathong, which is also known as the “festival of lights."

On this evening, the country's waterways - rivers, canals, even hotel swimming pools - turn into a sea of dazzling lights. The lights come from small floats that carry people's cares downstream. This year Loy Krathong fell on November 26th. "Loy" means "to float," and 'krathong" means a “leaf cup." Hence, most floating objects you see during the Loy Krathong night are flowers formed like cups, or artificial lotus petals shaped like cups.

The one I floated down river was made by my friend "Wut," who lives near my home. It was a simple structure, made of palm stalk, banana leaves and flowers, with candles and incense burners in the middle.

While walking down the river bank to deposit our "Krathong," I tripped on loose leaves and dumped the whole thing onto the ground. We managed to piece it back together, but I couldn't help but wonder if bad luck had dropped it's dark shroud upon us. (Me and my uncoordination may have cost us our lives in the next world).

Loy Krathong is a colorful event, and many people call it Thailand's loveliest festival. To mark the occasion, Thai women wear resplendent, colorful traditional attire, (this I can attest to and I must say I was quite impressed!) and festoon their hair with flowers. (not to mention tight, tight jeans!).

Explanation of the festival's significance varies. There are those who say that as the floats embark on their journey, they take with them the owner's misfortunes and believe this is a way of sloughing off one's sins as well. (Good deal for the Jeeemeister!)

On a lighter note, it is also believed that lovers can tell their romantic fortunes by watching their krathong float together downstream. As far as lovers are concerned, a pair of krathong sticking together into the darkness promises lifelong partnership... You don't need to believe the myth and philosophy behind it.


Posted by Hello


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