Loy Krathong: Thai Festival of Lights

I knew I was forgetting something beautiful:

Via Omae on Flickr, cialis sale thanks.

Loy Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (which usually falls in November here in the west). This month in the Northern Thai kingdom, case  ritual symbolism and Lanna Thai Buddhist tradition intertwine as communities gather together to celebrate a vast healing ritual.

In a ceremony possibly derived from the Hindu celebration of Diwali in India, hundreds of thousands of candle-lit krathong (banana leaf rafts) and elaborate, glittering floats are set adrift in rivers, streams, lakes, and canals:

Photo via Grant Thai on Flick, thanks.

Countless scores of glowing cylindrical lanterns called khome loi are set alight and released into the night sky as offerings to Lord Buddha:

It is believed that by lighting khome loi and sending them heavenward, “one symbolically casts away grief, misery and ill-fortunes.”

12 Responses to “Loy Krathong: Thai Festival of Lights”

  1. Alice Says:

    That video is really, really stunning. Those lanterns look just like phosphorescent jellyfish to me…

    Hart to believe it’s real and not some animated or digital illusion. So, yeah, awesome!

  2. Mer Says:

    Alice, they look like jellyfish to me as well, and watching them gives me the same feeling of peace and tranquility. :)

  3. gooby Says:

    They do something like that in Colombia for Xmas as well. Everybody has these paper craft hot air balloons of all shapes and colors, the streets are lined with candles, and for some reason they have these human effigies filled with fireworks that explode at midnight.

    I’m not sure what any of it has to do with Xmas, but I’m sure Jesus enjoyed irresponsible amounts of fire and explosives, so why not indulge him on his birthday. All I knew was it was amazing and beautiful, and I was a kid who one night a year was allowed to light things on fire and stay up till dawn.

  4. R. Says:

    That is absolutely beautiful. It put me at ease, watching the video.

  5. Alice Says:

    Hrm…there’s another little video of the same event where one of the lamps catches on fire while it’s being lit…oddly, it doesn’t really ruin the tranquility of the thing…

  6. karenbcrazy Says:

    It’s making me tear up a little just watching the video. Everyone I send the link to thinks they’re jellyfish too.

    Love love love love it! You guys always amaze me with the wonderful things you find to share with us. Thanks again!

  7. jessu Says:

    That is officially the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all day.

  8. Luai_lashire Says:

    Do the lamps burn themselves up? While I was watching the videos, I couldn’t think of anything except how beautiful they were…. but after, I wondered a little guiltily if they were bad for the environment.

  9. Jerem Morrow Says:

    A ritual I’ve long been fascinated by. We, in the west, disappoint me in the lack of such things, here.

  10. Mer Says:

    Luai, I wondered the same thing. I’m guessing it can’t be too good for the environment…but it can’t be any worse than say, Burning Man or the Olympics or something like that. Worth looking into, though.

  11. Miss E Says:

    Wow…that’s so beautiful.

  12. gooby Says:

    When we did it in Colombia, most of them would catch on fire at some point in their flight, which just added a new chapter to their life story. The rest would just land all over town, and pretty much everyone expected to be cleaning up the day after.

    The whole town was usually a mess in the morning, but like the morning after a good party, nobody minded having to clean up.