Loi Krathong and Lantern Festival 2014 Chiang Mai

Loi Krathong Bridge

The Thais love a good festival and Loi Krathong is no exception. Loi Krathong is an ancient Buddhist celebration of the water spirits. During the festival there are huge parades, parties, fireworks and other types of revelry. Traditionally, people make ‘krathongs’ or small decorative floats that they set off into the water to give thanks and respect to the spirits. Krathongs are usually made of banana leaves decorated with flowers, candles, and incense. People crowd around the river banks all across Thailand to set these floats off into the water.

Loi Krathong Val

Loi Krathong Lights

Loi Krathong happens to coincide with a Lanna (northern Thai) festival of Yi Peng. This is the annual festival where people release thousands of huge floating paper lanterns into the sky. It’s a ritual that’s intended to show respect to Buddha. People say that when you release a lantern it’s supposed to receive you of something bad that’s been troubling you. This could be sadness, guilt or bad luck.

Lanterns 1

Lanterns Blurry

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m racking up some serious karma points with all these lanterns and floats. And I even scooped up a spider in a cup and put him outside instead of stepping on him.

In all seriousness though, the celebrations of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng were amazing. We got to see thousands of lanterns floating up into the sky all night long for several nights. We went to a big annual event where people come together and release lanterns all at the same time and got some pretty amazing pictures. I even spotted a group of young monks lighting off their own lantern after the festivities were over. My favorite picture I’ve ever taken.

Yi Peng Monks

Then we went to the roof of my apartment building and took pictures of the lanterns floating up all over the city. My phone camera once again fails to do justice to the scene, but here goes nothing:

2014-11-07 21.24.14

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