LOI KRATHONG IN THE NORTH In Chiang Mai, the crown of the north, as well as other adjacent regions, Loi Krathong coincides with another momentous event: Yee Peng. This symbolic festivity embraces the idea of candlelit vessels, but locals, instead of primarily making krathongs for their waterways, create glowing receptacles called khom, which are sent forth into the night sky. Northern Thailand celebrates the coagulation of both festivals in a jamboree of lanterns, as the townspeople send out their khoms to ward off bad luck and send misfortune into the air. The lanterns are released after a whispered prayer, and the owners of any lantern that disappears from sight; before the glimmer of the candle dies out; can anticipate good fortune. There are different kinds of khoms crafted for different purposes. Khom Theua is a lantern to be carried throughout the Loi Krathong parade; it will afterwards be taken to the temple to be used as an ornament. Khom Kwaen, a lantern variety of different shapes, is meant as a symbolic tribute to Buddha. Khom Paad highlights the twelve horoscopic signs and is usually latched upon temple entrances. Khom Loi is a small hot air balloon. This cylindrical paper lantern rises about a meter high and is girded by wire circles and a kerosene tray to lift it high into the night sky. Locals use Khom Loi to celebrate Yee Peng. Some will write their names and addresses on the cover, and a unique game of lost and found is set. If the lantern is discovered lying on the ground, the finder can bring the remnants back to its owner and in return, will be given a cash prize.
LOI KRATHONG IN THE SOUTH The river-floating jubilee happens in the southern districts of Thailand where crowds gather, carrying tiny floral-filled receptacles with twinkling candles. Before the celebration, you can see locals busily attending to their own krathongs, decorating it to their heart's delight, like a wonderful, tangible masterpiece sent to the gods. People celebrate creativity as institutions set out artistic contests for the best floats. Families use this to bond together, helping each member adorn their tiny boats for hopes of good luck. At the day of the event is the strong fragrance of the incense, where small trails of smoke bristle atop the decorated boats. When the full moon appears, candles are lit; and families and friends symbolically hold their floats together as they make a wish. Each krathong makes its way through the riverbed given a small push, carrying prayers down the banks. Everyone strains their eyes on their own krathongs as it quietly floats away, carrying every dream to the deities with the hopes they will be heard. Consequently, it is also believed that sending a krathong can ward away troubles and misfortune and are also sent as an apology to the water goddess for any wrongs committed against her in the year that has passed. The romantic flickering of lights is only among the many spectacles this festival offers.
Published on Oct 1, 2015
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