Friday, November 6, 2009

up, up and away

My inner pyro did a small dance of joy when I realized my stay in Thailand would coincide with the Loy Kratong Festival. I missed the lantern toting ghouls of Halloween and the bonfires of Guy Fawkes day but I knew I would get my fix of flame during Loy Kratong. It's meant to be a fun event and like many other autumn festivals around the world, it involves fire and light. At the center of the festival is the ritual launching of Kratongs which are small floatable banana boats elaborately decorated with leaves, topped with flower offerings and a lit candle. Rumor has it that lovers who launch a kratong will not float apart. Rivers and ponds all over the country become launch sites and are transformed into twinkling seas, alive with tiny flames. Kratong design and construction has changed with the times and at one time the lowly banana stem base was replaced with hi-tech styrofoam. The green movement has spurred a reversion back to the more environmentally friendly materials and kratongs are now made from everything from biodegradable paper to bread dough.

Another popular activity is the launching of Khom Loys or fire lanterns. These cool little guys are self-propelled hot air rice paper balloons. The fuel ring is lit, the air inside the balloon is heated and then pffft....lift-off. These beautiful lanterns rise silently and slowly skyward, wobbling up into the night. On Loy Kratong evening we joined a crowd of Lauchie's co-workers and drove up the Chao Phraya River to a riverside restaurant for the celebration. I had a front row seat for Khom Loy launching. As beautiful as they are, I can't help worrying about the danger of their landings. I shared a table with a fellow from San Diego who just marveled at this dangerous practice. Only in Thailand they say, only in Thailand.


judy in ky said...

What a beautiful photo!

Susan said...


The cowboy who is a multi-talented handy kinda guy has marveled at not only the beauty of the chocolate brown floors but at the amazing installation job. I've told him much about "the" dynamic duo who upon completion of a particularly tricky nook or cranny would stand side by side assessing their efforts, then turn toward each other and say almost in unison OnBelievable !

It seems my big red dog has been reincarnated into the body of a handsome, breathtaking retired history professor.

Love you, miss you xo Susan

Susan said...

pffft ;-)

Courtney said...

Amazing!! I am absolutely loving your blog!