I love Meetup Groups. I have been exposed to many things in my local area that I had no idea existed. Saturday night I went to see the Loy Krathong festival in Tampa. I had no idea we had such a vibrant Thai community in the area.
The festival is one of the most beautiful in Thailand, and a few weeks back when planning where to be for the Loy Krathong festival this year I had visions of tripods and slow shutter speeds dancing in my head, dreaming of thousands of Krathongs floating on the water with an amazingly beautiful temple in the background and the sky filled with hot air candle powered paper balloons. Instead this years Loy Krathong and todays photo of the day became a very personal and meaningful image of two lone Krathongs floating in the muddy pond by our country home. A week ago we were informed that our 4 year old daughter was one of the girls chosen by her school to dance at the local festival. So the evening was spent watching my daughter on stage and her mother making sure her costume was just right. When we returned home Jang and I walked down to the pond and floated two lone craft on the water. It was the best Loy Krathong a father and husband could ask for.
Loy Krathong is an ancient festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand and certain parts of Laos and Burma (Myanmar). It is a festival with Brahman origins adapted when Buddhism was introduced in Thailand. Loi means ‘to float’, while krathong refers to a usually lotus-shaped container, in rural Thailand made from banana leaves and flowers, which floats on the water, filled with incense and candles. One folk tale describes it thus: “Floating krathong along the river was created by Nang Noppamas; the most favorite concubines Sukhothai king. She made krathong as lotus-shaped. The king of Sukhothai floated it along the river. According to Sri Chula Lucks treatise, Phra Ruang (Sukhothai king) said From now on, on the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month, kings of Siam have to make floating lantern- like lotus-shaped- to worship the foot-print of the Buddha on Nammathanati River for ever after.” Some have tied deep meaning to the floating of flowers, incense and candles such as venerating the Buddha and letting go of negative thoughts, but in rural Thailand ordinary Thai’s use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae.