This is a big festival in Chiang Mai. The big celebration was held for 2 days. For almost a week I could not sleep well because the noise of firecrackers here and there are so loud especially after midnight. This year my husband and I decided to look a little bit closer to this festival. We took some pictures on the first big day celebration around our place and on the Nawarat Bridge. Some info to explain the pictures is from Wikipedia.
Loy Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar, this usually falls in November.
“Krathong” is a raft made from a section of banana tree trunk (although modern-day versions use specially made bread ‘flowers’ and may use styrofoam), decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks and nowadays they add firecrackers also.
“Loy” means to float. During the night of the full moon, many people will release “Krathong” on the river or on the pond. The act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one’s grudges, anger, and defilements so that one can start life afresh on a better foot. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of themselves. Many Thai believe that floating a Krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.
In Chiang Mai Loy Krathong is also known as “Yi Peng”. A multitude of Lanna-style hot-air lanterns (khom fai) is also launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the skies. These are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also taken to decorate houses and streets. And recently they also play the fireworks and firecrackers and make it looks like new year celebration.
The day after the big celebration, many remaining of the “Krathong” are still floating on the river. If the Krathong were made from the banana tree trunk then it is okay, but if they were made from styrofoam, it means more pollutants go to the water. The firecrackers also produce smoke that pollutes the air. On the celebration day, many people get drunk. Every year many accidents happen during the week of celebration: fire from the kom fai or car/motorbike accidents because of drunk people.
I hope in the future people will celebrate this day without losing its meaning. For more photos, you can take a look at our Flickr.