Interesting Facts About The Lantern Festival In Chiang Mai

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Starting yesterday and lasting through tomorrow (Nov. 11-13), candles will fly into the night over Asia’s Buddhist temples of Thailand.
Here are some Facts and GIFs from Thailand’s massive Lantern Festival.

Celebration revolves around the first FULL MOON of November.

This year, it hits on the 13th.
What does this full moon mean?
Although November is the 11th month in America…that’s not the same calendar that Buddhist follow.

They are partying during the 12th month in the traditional Thai Lunar calendar.
Basically, the full moon is like our party on New Years.

As such, when the lanterns are sent to the sky; it is “carrying away BAD ENERGY” in hopes of a fresh beginning for the start of the new year.

Every city in Thailand is partying this week but there are 2 different Festivals.
North celebrates “Yi Peng”
– main city of Chiang Mai (GIF above)
AND
South celebrates “Loy Krathong”
– main city of Sukhothai (GIF below)

Here’s the confusing part.
Southern Thailand has been holding the festival in the OLD Thai capital of Sukhothai since the 13th century (GIF above and next 2 GIFs).
During this time the legend goes like this: Nang Noppamas was the queen to the king of the “Sukhothai” empire.
“Loy Krathong” (ลอยกระทง) means “to Float a Basket”.

It is believed that queen Nang launched the first Loy Krathong…which is actually a small boat made of banana leaves that floats down the river as an offering to both good ol’ Buddha AND the “Water Spirit goddess of Pra Mae Khongkhathen” . These boats have candles, along with incense and colorful flowers…AND one other item???

They usually have money. People put steal coins in them to bribe the Water Spirit/goddess for good luck and forgiveness in the new year.
Comically, the next day; many locals wait for tourists’ hang-overs to hit WHILE THEY GO SWIM FOR THE COINS.

However, in the North – main city of Chiang Mai (GIF above and below) – they celebrate “Yi Peng”.
“Yi” translates to “TWO” and “Peng” translates to “FULL MOON DAY”.

The North is following a DIFFERENT calendar that lasts for 3 days…more importantly, it is only the SECOND month in the North’s Lunar calendar…hence “Yi Peng”.
(This year Nov. 11-13)

Either way, both the North and South are sending up lights to whatever Spirit may be in the good ol’ “ABOVE”.

And G-Damn if it doesn’t look freakin’ beautiful.
-Rick

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