Sunday, November 24, 2013

Loy Kratong 2013

Marathon day here in Thailand also just happened to fall on Loy Kratong Day (see here for our first couple Loy Kratong Days together, 7 and 4 years ago?) I had forgotten that Loy Kratong was usually on the November Full moon. I should have figured it out as I was runnning the out leg of the Marathon at 2:00 am, with the full moon leading the way. I looked at that shiny disk in the sky for some 20km until the course did a u-turn back into town. But it never dawned on me that it was Loy Kratong Day!

Later, after a long nap and some food, Pae asked if we were gonna Loy Kratong or "float" a Kratong this year. It's not often that we are able to do it together since Pae started working, so it was a great idea and I had honestly forgotten the holiday all together. I tend only to remember the holidays that fall on work days ;)

We have Loy Kratong'ed <----Thinglish--- in the Chao Phraya River, in Klong Saen Saep and in Lumpini Park. This year we didn't really want to go far but what do ya know, Pae checked on the internet and they were keeping all public parks open late for the festival. We live 2 kilometers away from the park where I run at, Chatuchak Park or JJ Park as I call it.

We got dressed, me in my goofy Marathon Finisher shirt that I had earned much earlier that day, and took the subway two stops to JJ. We weren't sure if there would be people selling the banana tree Kratongs or not, but we figured that where there was a chance for someone to make money, they would be there.
We emerged though, out of the subway, to the beautiful sight of Khom, or lanterns, rising into the dark night sky from JJ. Khom are very traditional in the north, but people bring them down to Bangkok this time of year also. You can see the occasional khom or two in the sky, but never quite the quantity like in Chiang Mai up north. But the sky above JJ had a steady stream of 20-30 Khom the entire time we were there! It was quite pretty.

We immediately found a Khom hawker and got a larger one for under $3 US. We decided to send our Khom into the night sky with wishes and to take away some of the bad from the past year, and then go get a more traditional floating Kratong. It took our Khom a little while to heat up sufficiently to float away as the basica structure of it is wire wrapped in paper.
Ours was a little heavy, but as soon as the fire got going pretty good inside the Khom, it floated slowly moonward. We watched, staring into the surprisingly clear night sky, as our Khom danced upward and in a southerly direction, dodging other Khom along the way and adding to the beauty of the Festival's night sky.

We also watched as some Khom came perilously close to getting stuck in tree branches, while some took dives into the JJ ponds and while others caught fire half way up into the night and came down in a slow, firey nose dive into whatever or whoever was below. That's one of the things people dislike about the Khom is that eventually it has to come down. SOmetime it comes down and is still on fire. Sometimes the fuel that burns in the center of the Khom drips fire on spectators below. It was kind of a nervous time every time one went overhead.

As we lost sight of our Khom, we went outside of the park to find a Kratong to Loy (float). Wee picked one that looked like it wouldn't capsize, paid our $2 US for it (60 baht) and found a relatively quiet and not crowded part of the pond to Loy it.
As is tradition, we cut fingernails and placed under the bed of flowers on the Kratong. We also cut a lock of hair and positioned it likewise.
We lit the candle and the incense, said a prayer/made a wish and sent out Kratong on its journey to the other side of the pond ;) We kinda forgot to thank the Goddess of Water during our prayer/wish, but that's okay, we meant well ;)

It was a very nice evening and unexpected fun was had by Pae and Guy, Puppy and Piggy.

1 comment:

mardenheyjude said...

What a beautiful celebration. Nice pictures. Love always, Auntie

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