Friday, November 11, 2011

Lights in the Sky, Lights on the River

At the full moon in the twelfth lunar month--in other words, right now--Chiang Mai celebrates two festivals at once, the festival of lights known as Yee-Peng and a worship ritual called Loy Krathong in which people honor the spirit of the river by sending down it little floats made from flowers, candles and banana leaves.

You'd think the Thai might not feel like celebrating rivers in this year of devastating floods, but these festivals are also a time of letting go of bad luck and making wishes for good luck to come. And Chiang Mai has been celebrating with a vengeance.

People all over town decorated their entryways for the occasion:

Flower-sellers laid out the materials for making the krathongs and sold ready-made prayer boats as well:

The Burmese kids at Thai Freedom House decorated their krathongs with great enthusiasm:

 I got a kick out of it myself:

Tonight, the last night of the festival, featured the biggest parade yet:

And down by the river, as they have for several nights, people gathered to light their lanterns, let them fill with hot air and send them up to the night sky:


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