One of the most spectacular sights in Thailand is the Lantern festival which sees a thousand lanterns being launched in the air, carrying within themselves thoughts, hope, and a million wishes. A sky studded with glittering lights afloat in beautiful unison is the stunning sight thus formed. Popularly known as the Lanna Yi Peng festival, it marks new beginnings and shedding of old inhibitions and unhappy thoughts.
Promise Tip: We can most certainly vouch for this one: The Lanna Yi Peng festival is the perfect night to bend down on one knee and pop the question to your lady love.
How it’s done?
During the festival, several lanterns are launched in the air, engulfing the sky space and forming a breathtaking sight like none other. Popular notion states that this sea of floating lanterns resembles large flocks of giant florescent jellyfish, afloat in perfect harmony.
The sky lanterns are made up of paper and folded in the form of a lantern with a strong base to seat a candle. Mostly only plain paper, some lanterns sport intricate designs, such as dragon motifs, drawn in bright colours. A candle or incense stick is placed upright inside the lantern at the centre, such that the paper does not burn, and are let out in the sky. It is made sure that the candle or incense stick is not too heavy lest it restricts the lantern to float in the air.
The Idea Behind It
The act of releasing floating sky lanterns is symbolic of an attempt to gain “merit” in terms of the Buddhist act of letting go of the negative deeds of the past. This idea coincides with the Loi Krathong festival, which is witness to the release of numerous krathongs (a small lotus-shaped container with incense sticks or candles), as a mark of respect to the water goddess. If you believe in karma, this is your opportunity to let go of all past peeves and start afresh. The festival offers an ideal space and time for spiritual respite as well as a romantic haven. Spells perfect, doesn’t it?
When: November. The festival is held on the full moon night of the second month of the Lanna calendar, which is the 12th month (November) of the Thai lunar calendar.
2014: First week of November (tentatively)
The lantern festival coincides with the traditional festival of floating lights of Thailand, known as the Loi Krathong festival. Make sure that you are in the company of your favourite few to completely enjoy and relish the beauty of this festival. A perfect event for a memorable family time.
The Lanna Yi Peng festival is most elaborately celebrated in the temperate climate of Chiang Mai, which is the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom. People commemorate this celebration by decorating their houses, traditional dance shows, parades, fireworks, and a beauty contest. The myriad colours spread beyond measure to resemble kaleidoscopic imagery that so fills one’s heart and imagination right up to the brim.
The world renowned festivals of Lanna Yi Peng and Loi Krathong are perfect photographic opportunities. These are times when the whole of Thailand comes alive after dusk and is lit with millions of hopes and wishes for a bright and prosperous time ahead.
Travel Tip: Keep your belongings close and kids closer as the crowds swell beyond measure at these festivals.
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