Loy Krathong & Yee Peng Lantern Festivals, Chiang Mai
Loi Krathong[a] (Thai: ????????, pronounced [l???j kr?.t???]) is a Siamese festival celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures (Laos, Shan, Mon, Tanintharyi, Kelantan, Kedah and Xishuangbanna). The name could be translated as "to float a basket," and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river.
Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, thus the exact date of the festival changes every year. In the Western calendar this usually falls in the month of November. In Chang Mai, the festival lasts three days, and in 2018, the dates will be 21 - 23 November.
In Thailand, the festival is known as "Loi Krathong" (????????). Outside Thailand, this festival is celebrated under different names, including Myanmar as the "Tazaungdaing festival", Sri Lanka as "Il Full Moon Poya" and Cambodia as "Bon Om Touk"
According to the Royal Institute Dictionary 1999, loi (???) means "to float", while krathong (?????) has various meanings, one of which is "a small container made of leaves which can be floated on water during the Loi Krathong festival".Krathong is traditionally a small leaf container which is made to hold a small portion of goods like a traditional Thai dish (such as "Hor Mok") or dessert. The traditional krathong used for floating at the festival are made from a slice of a banana tree trunk or a spider lily plant. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or Styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate after a few days and can be eaten by fish. Banana stalk krathong are also biodegradable, but Styrofoam krathongs are sometimes banned, as they pollute the rivers and may take years to decompose. A krathong is decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, incense sticks, and a candle. A small coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits.
On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.
Government offices, corporations, and other organizations launch large decorated krathongs. There are competitions for the best of these large krathongs. A beauty contest is a regular feature and fireworks have become common in recent years.
Loi Krathong is often claimed to have begun in the Sukhothai by a court lady named Nopphamat. However, it is now known that the Nopphamat tale comes from a poem written in the early Bangkok period. According to King Rama IV, writing in 1863, it was a Brahmanical festival that was adapted by Thai Buddhists in Thailand to honor the Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The candle venerates the Buddha with light, while the krathong's floating symbolizes letting go of all one's hatred, anger, and defilements. People sometimes cut their fingernails or hair and place the clippings on the krathong as a symbol of letting go of past transgressions and negative thoughts. Many Thais use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, the Hindu Goddess Ganga, Phra Mae Khongkha (Thai: ??????????).
The beauty contests that accompany the festival are known as "Nopphamat Queen Contests". According to legend, Nang Nopphamat (Thai: ????????; alternatively spelled as "Noppamas" or "Nopamas") was a consort of the 13th century Sukhothai king Sri Indraditya (who is also known as Phra Ruang) and she had been the first to float a decorated raft. However, this is a new story which was invented during the first part of the 19th century. There is no evidence that a Nang Nopphamat ever existed. Instead, it is a matter of fact that a woman of this name was the leading character of a novel released at the end of the reign of King Rama III, around 1850 CE. Her character was written as guidance for all women who wished to become civil servants.
Kelantan in Malaysia celebrates Loi Krathong similarly, especially in the Tumpat area. The ministry in charge of tourism in Malaysia recognises it as an attraction for tourists. Many people visit the celebration each year.
Swarms of sky lanterns (Thai: ??????; RTGS: khom loi), literally: 'floating lanterns', are launched into the air. Khom loi are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, stretched over a bamboo or wire frame, to which a candle or fuel cell is attached. When the fuel cell is lit, the resulting hot air is trapped inside the lantern and creates enough lift for the khom loi to float into the sky.
Because they are a hazard to passing aircraft and "...can cause damage to important places in the areas such as the Grand Palace [sic], temples and governmental offices,..." khom loi are increasingly subject to governmental restrictions. In Chiang Mai, authorities cancelled 78 flights in and out of Chiang Mai Airport on 3–4 November 2017. Another 79 flights were rescheduled. In Bangkok, the public are prohibited from using fireworks and sky lanterns entirely. Violators may face three years imprisonment and/or a fine of 60,000 baht. One hundred-ninety piers on the Chao Phraya River will be open to the public to float their krathongs.
During the festival, some people also decorate their houses, gardens, and temples with khom fai (Thai: ?????), intricately shaped paper lanterns which take on different forms. Khom thue (Thai: ??????) are lanterns which are carried around hanging from a stick, khom khwaen (Thai: ???????) are the hanging lanterns, and khom pariwat(Thai: ??????????), which are placed at temples and which revolve due to the heat of the candle inside. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom, where now both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from trees/buildings or standing on walls, and lights floating in the sky. The tradition of Yi Peng was also adopted by certain parts of Laos during the 16th century.
Event Date: 2019-09-04 04:56:22