Madness Schedule and Upcoming Events

Okie – My Examination scheduled from 12 – 18 October, madness isn’t it? never mind about that….relax take a deep breath…until later one the announcement came out that “school will be commence as usual on Monday” Whoa! This got me really crazy totally! more to come though…
26 Oct Field trip to Chai-Nat Province – (a day trip) to help the needy child so we will have to start making those cute little boxes to go around an collect whatever people around our campus could offer, well we SIC were actually thinking about Singing & Playing guitar Lame idea eh? but I love this idea we get to contribute to the society and get to help people who are less fortunate than us. The next stop would be a Tour around the old and most significant temples in Thailand around the Ayuthhaya Period; I’m a big fan of history especially if you would like to take me back to my old root!

I’m proud to say I am a Thai(even though I’m not 100%), and I’m not ashamed to say that I know nothing about Thai Culture but I’m willing to learn and get in touch with my own root. I love my Chinese-Singapore Culture, and I believe that I’ll be able to find a good mixture and a good balance in both cultures. I’m kinda excited actually =)
Another event that I’m gonna be missed “Loy Krathong” Festival or Yi Peng, as it is known in Chiang Mai and the north. This year will be held on 2 November 2009, according to Tradition Thai Lunar Calendar.

It is held on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month and usually falls in November. At this time of year the tide in most rivers is highest and the moon is brightest, creating a romantic ideal setting – especially for lovers. The Thai people see it as the best time for celebration on such a beautiful night. 
Chiang Mai is one of the prime sites to celebrate the Loy Kratong festival. During the celebration, the largest Kratongs are decorated floats and carried on trucks in procession. The colorfully lit floats form a long glittering parade as they make their ways to the Ping River. Meanwhile, up above thousands of ‘khom loy’ (floating lanterns) drift into the night sky. These large balloon-like lanterns are released at temples and sometimes from private homes in the hope that misfortune flies away with them.  
Loy Kratong is probably the most picturesque and most beautiful of Thai celebrations. ‘Loy’ literally means ‘to float’ and ‘Kratong’ refers to the lotus-shape vessel that can float on water. Originally, the kratong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A kratong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. The making of a kratong is much more creative these days as many more materials have been applied in making a kratong. 
The Loy Kratong ritual is simple one. One needs only to light the candles and the joss sticks, make one’s wishes and let it float away with the current of a river or a canal. On that day, thousands of people will gather besides the canals and rivers. With Kratong in hands, they light the candle, put some coins in the kratong and silently make a wish and finally carefully place their kratongs in the water and release them to the current. They watch intently as the float drifts silently downstream, hoping that the candle will not go out. Its flame is said to signify longevity, fulfillment of wishes and release from sins. Altogether it is considered a romantic night for couples and lovers, many of them would make a wish to bless their love affairs as they float their Kratong on the river. 

In Chiang Mai the Ping River becomes a sea of glittering floating lights, fireworks are let off everywhere, particularly along the river banks and there is a parade each night although the Chiang Mai streets.
This is a Brief History of Loy Krathong Festival or Yi Peng and how does it Related to Chiang Mai or Lanna City.

History of Loy Krathong
A crowd with flickering light of candles and color of flowers decorating floating object is familiar scene in a celebration occurring in a twelfth month in lunar calendar.  It is one of wonderful Asian cultures when rivers and canals are full of water.  Since we have been a kid, I guess everyone must be impressed with this festive occasion in November – Loy Krathong. Most of us are convinced that floating objects or Krathongs are originated in Sukhothai by Tao Sri Chulalak or Nang Noppamas, who was one of Phra Ruang’s wives.  However, some assert that the story was written in the reign of Rama III merely to advocate women on role model of a good wife, as no evidence is found to prove the festival’s existence.  They believe that Loy Krathong has just been celebrated since the end of Ayutthaya.  Despite the confusing history, this gracious culture is still alive.  People still conducts this ritual not only to worship the footprint of the Buddha on a riverside in India, but also to pay respect to Chulamanee Chedi in heaven.  Another well-known purpose is to show their gratitude to the Goddess of the Water on their plentiful use of water and ask for forgiveness in the ensuing pollution.  Moreover, many people believe that floating the beautiful Krathong away also refers to flying away misfortune and bad things in the past and asking for good luck in the future. 
In the past, people in Lanna Kingdom in the north of Thailand also show respect to rivers, but they use fire instead.  They float a lantern like a hot-air balloon in the sky which is called Yee Peng.  And now we still can find this celebration in Chiang Mai.  Interestingly, people other than Thais have the similar tradition.  Not far from us, Laos float Pratips (or our Krathong) and Lai Rue Fai (or flowing an ablaze boat) in worship of Water Goddess.  This rite is also used to welcome the Buddha after His return from preaching to His mother in the second heaven.  In Cambodia, this period is called Ok Ambok which means worshipping the moon.  They float Pratips on a full moon night as well.  Another neighboring country as Burma has the same culture.  They float Krathong to worship the Buddha and Nut or household spirit.  Looking upward farther, some of us may be surprised that Vietnam, Korea and Japan have the similar rituals too.  They apologize the Water Goddess and float away ill fortune.  It is assumed that the origin is Mahayana Buddhism which was expanded from China.  On the other hand, Indians claim that they are the root of this ceremony derived from Brahmin.  This festival is aimed to worship Naraya God who sleeps in the milk ocean and He then will throw our sin away.    
In Thailand, people enjoy creating their own Krathong made from natural resources, such as leaves and trunks of banana adorned with flowers.  Some might use bread instead of synthetic materials showing their concern for environment.  Other than flowers, a candle and incense sticks, we often put some coins or betel pepper and nut in our Krathongs.  And that’s why our Krathongs can’t drift any further as they are raided for little money.  Nevertheless, Loy Krathong Festival remains the most romantic and favorite occasion for a number of people and still best represents our gratitude. 
Here are Some of my Loy Krathong BBQ Party with my neighbors, back in Chiang Mai


I had a great time back then and I am looking forward to go back and visit them again in December this year. I see many people go crazy over Halloween party,not that I’m not a big fan of it, but I’d say this kinda cultural activities tend to leave me greater impression, and it is the most memorable event in Chiangmai.

May Peace be With You – xoxo

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