This past Monday, November 14, on the evening of the full moon of the 12th lunar calendar month, Loi Krathong was celebrated.
Loi Krathong is an annual celebration taking place in November. Originating as a Indic festival, it was around 150 years ago that it was adopted by Buddhists under the ruling of King Mongkut (Rama IV). In this version of the festival, people make various lanterns and other vessels to float lights down the rivers, symbolizing the release of bad luck and misfortune.
These vessels are known as krathongs. They are traditionally made from banana leaves and wood, and are decorated with flowers, a candle and incense. It is also known to put a coin, or even some hair or a nail clipping, in the krathong.
Another tradition here in Northern Thailand is Yee Peng. Very similar to Loi Krathong, Yee Peng is the celebration of the full moon of the second month of the old Lanna calendar. With this festival, people hang or send off beautiful illuminated lanterns. As with the krathongs, these lanterns are a way to discard bad fortune.
Here at the Half Day School, the students spent the afternoon Monday making krathongs out of paper. By taking 12 pieces of paper, by folding them intricately, the students created flower shaped krathongs to send down the river with their families later that night.
To learn more about Loi Krathong and Yee Peng, read more here.