Last week, while many of my friends and family were celebrating Thanksgiving, we were celebrating Loi Krathong (pronounced “loy kratong”) here in Thailand. The festival occurs every year on the evening of the full moon in 12th lunar month and this year, it fell on Wednesday, November 25th.
The festival is about apologizing and giving thanks to the river and sending away bad luck. Thai people celebrate by floating krathongs (small floats decorated with banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense) down the river and sending paper lanterns up into the sky. There is also a parade, beauty contest, firecrackers, live music and traditional Thai dance performances for three nights during the festival. We went on Wednesday night to float our krathongs and light paper lanterns with a group of our American and Thai friends. It was so fun to be able to participate!
I have been trying to think about an American holiday I could compare it to, but we really don’t have anything like it. We generally spend most holidays with our families or friends and everyone sort of has their own traditions for celebrating (i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc.). However, nearly everyone in Lampang came together to celebrate Loi Krathong on Wednesday night. The river was filled with flowers and the sky dotted with fiery paper lanterns. There is such a wonderful sense of community here and even with 230,000 residents (roughly the same as Baton Rouge, Louisiana), it definitely has a small town vibe.
This weekend included a visit from some of our American teacher friends that live in nearby provinces. We explored caves in Tham Pha Thai National Park and enjoyed cruising through the lake at Kiu Lom Dam and Reservoir. Up next is Bunyawat’s “Sport Day” on Monday and a trip to Chiang Rai (take 2) next weekend!