I’ve always wanted to let off my own lantern, and I finally got to do it this week at the Loy Krathong festival in Thailand. Living here for 8 months, I’ve heard so much about this amazing festival, Thai’s look forward to it all year! It’s a festival that happens every year on the date of the full moon, in the 12th month of the Thai Lunar calendar. This year it was on the 25th November but the festival lasts for 3 days.
My first experience was just incredible, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before, it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had!
Starting off at school on Tuesday 24th. We made our very own krathongs (flower and vegetable baskets made with banana trees, which are put in the river to say thank you to all the water spirits in Thailand.) It was loads of fun, sitting all the kids down and giving them all the materials to make the krathongs. My class are only six years old, so we gave them ice-cream cones to makes theirs, so it’s food for the fish too!
After, we had a traditional Thai ceremony with children doing dances to the Loy Krathong traditional song. Of course I took part too, all dressed in my Northern Thai attire!
After school, I went to the Ping river, which runs right through Chiang Mai! There was loads of people selling their own Krathongs along with sparklers (so we didn’t miss out on our bonfire night at home!), it was a lovely atmosphere. Had to bend right over into the river to let my krathong go, holding on tight so I didn’t fall in! Stopped to watch a traditional Thai parade in the city too!
On the 25th was the much anticipated mass lantern release at Mae Jo University. Inside the Uni, you had to pay $100, we decided to stay outside and watch with hundreds of local Thais!
Letting our lanterns off was an amazing experience although challenging at first. One had a hole in so we had to throw it in the river before it caused a huge fire, but the others worked great!
At 9pm, the mass lantern release was due. We patiently saved our last and biggest lantern ready for the release. Almost immediately after letting it go, we heard to crowds cheering and looked up to the most incredible sight I’ve seen! Thousands and thousands of lanterns released into the sky at the exact same time, shining bright with the huge full moon in the background. The atmosphere taking them in one direction, it looked magnificent! If you’re ever planning to be in Chiang Mai for Loy Krathong, go to Mae Jo uni, its a must see! (and don’t pay for those tickets as its just as incredible if not more outside, from the view we had!)
Midway through the lantern release, we were surprised by a huge array of fireworks, literally blowing the lanterns to pieces in the process, a sight worth seeing that’s for sure!
Don’t miss out on Loy Krathong next year, along with the lantern launch of Yee Peng! Definitely worth planning your trip around, just remember the actual date in November changes every year!
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