Saturday, November 29, 2008

12 November Loi Krathong Festival

Bailey & Mieke are in Chiang Mai shooting all day, while the kids & I try to take it slow...! Finn sneaks in an afternoon tennis lesson with the Four Seasons Pro, Leslie - “It was soooo much fun, mom!” (Leslie even manages to convince me to get onto the court, barefoot & skirt-clad, to join in a few exercises with the kids in a later lesson - no mean feat, as those who know me will attest!)

We’re saving up for a spectacular sunset, and the main event that evening: the Loi Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai. Held at the 12th (?) full moon of the year, the Loi Krathong festival, as I understand it, is one of hope, thanks and light. The delicate krathong - handcrafted in homes and markets - are gently floated down the River Ping to honor & thank the Goddess of the River for the water from which all life stems. The lanterns - some apparently up to 12’ in diameter with comet-like candle pots - are loosed into the sky by the thousands - each carrying with it the hopes & wishes of the senders. Magical.

Having been cautioned against being in the thick of city streets - “It can get a little crazy with the firecrackers!” - we watch from a riverfront open-air restaurant. (Everything’s open-air here!) The cantankerouscrazyraucous company of today’s fixer, and American and his rocknrolla buddy still can’t dampen the atmosphere. Finn and I step out to the street to pick up two little krathongs. Back “inside” the restaurant, we all tiptoe onto a little bamboo dock to light the incense, candles and sparklers of the little craft and loose them onto the river.

The music, fireworks, lanterns and krathong never cease throughout our 3 hour dinner. The festivities will go on well into the wee hours.

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