Today is Loy Krathong, perhaps the most coqlorful of all the traditional Thai festivals. I have always enjoyed making the krathong (literally, “floating decorations”) with my students and then setting them adrift in the evening. It really is beautiful to see all of the floating banana-tree rounds decorated with banana leaves, flowers and lit candles reflected in the water. Equally lovely are the Thai traditional clothing worn by participants — colorful for the women, blue farmer shirts for the men but usually with a colorful sash tied around the waist. But my favorite part are the skies full of blazing paper lanterns. It really is breathtaking.
Usually, Loy Krathong is accompanied by further pageantry including beauty contests, concerts of boisterous Isaan music, and even fireworks. However, this year the celebrations are planned to be a bit more subdued out of respect for the mourning period for Thailand’s Supreme Patriarch, His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, who passed away last month shortly after turning 100 years old.