night lights

By November 30, 20102010, Asia

Saturday evening of last week was a moment here in Thailand that I will never forget as I pushed my krathong (cylinder of a banana tree trunk) decorated with banana leaves, flowers and lit with a single candle into the river and it joined the thousands of others as they floated down stream. Then on Sunday night I stood out on the balcony of my homestay with one of my fellow travelers and watched thousands of flaming lanterns float into the night sky of a full moon together with fireworks spontaneously cracking in every direction. This is the time of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng here in Chiang Mai, two combined festivals that makes for one large celebration. I am told by my homestay uncle that the Krathongs are offered to the river as an apology to the goddess of water they have done to hurt the river while the lanterns are sent up as an offering to Buddah. Having this opportunity to participate in such a example of Thai culture has been amazing. It seems as though everywhere you travel there are always traces (sometimes very obvious, other times more subtle) of western influence. I have begun to appreciate experiencing festivals and other such holidays in various countries as it is a moment when they have pride in and exemplify their own culture and its traditions and the western impact gets pushed aside.


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