Loy Krathong–Let the Games Begin
The city was filled with villagers from the surrounding countryside. For months they had prepared to race in impressive, decorative rafts they had constructed that stretched for miles along the banks of the river. Civic pride was at its highest. A gun was discharged and the race was underway. As they had for hundreds of years, Thai men rowed with all of their might as their rafts surged in fits and starts. Crowds cheered for their local team. Winners gloated in their victories while others found comfort in immediately planning for the following year.
Loy Krathong–An Opportunity for Personal Reflection
After sunset the celebration becomes a ceremony of personal reflection. The Thai respectfully approach the banks of the river and, after saying a prayer, set a small raft constructed from woven banana leaves adrift in the river. The rafts are colorfully decorated and illuminated with a small candle. Setting the raft adrift is symbolic of letting go of anger so that one can start life afresh on a better foot.
Khom Loy–A Thousand Lanterns Illuminate the Night Sky
Khom Loy is undoubtedly the most magical of Thai celebrations where thousands of lanterns are set adrift into the night sky. These are constructed from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame with a small candle or fuel cell. When lit, the flame heats up inside the lantern causing the lantern to rise into the air. Again, the Thai view these lanterns as carrying away problems and anxieties.
Loy Krathong–A Thai Male Beauty Pageant
The festivities continue well into the evening with traditional and contemporary music offerings on various stages where you may hear something as exotic as a Thai version of Lady Gaga. There are, of course, the requisite beauty contests. However, as the Thai find place for the very non-traditional, you may be surprised to see a beauty contest for men. They’ll saunter along the catwalk in traditional and Western wear, but when it comes to the swimsuit competition the obsession many Thai have for light skin becomes evident as baby powder covers every visible inch of the body.
Loy Krathong Street Food–For the Adventurous
Hungry? Food stalls abound. The brave and adventurous can sample fried cockroaches, grasshoppers, worms and all sorts of other arthropod varieties sold complete with seasoning, soy sauce, chili powder, lemongrass, salt, and pepper. Wash it all down with a Chang beer and you’ll swear it’s a potato chip.