Thursday, November 17, 2005

Day 102: 'A whole lot of love'

Heart shaped krathongs (floats), Loy Krathong Festival, Sukhotai Historical Park, Thailand

Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai festival celebrated annually on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month. By moonlight, people light the candles and sticks of incense on their floats, make a wish and launch them on canals, rivers and even small ponds. It is believed that the custom originated in the old city of Sukhothai, the first Thai capital, now a historical park and still the site of the grandest of celebrations.

As darkness fell the launching of the floats began. To my amazement, an army of kids, mostly boys, would try and fish out the floats as soon as their owners walked away. After dunking the still burning incense sticks they would carry the float back to their mothers’ stalls where they would immediately be put up for resale. As I stood there watching a particularly skilled little boy use a stick tied to the end of a string of ribbons going after the most impressive krathongs furthest away from the edge of the pond, a little Thai girl launched her simple float just next to me. I could see her concentrate as she made her wish and strain as she pushed the float as far away as she could. She was quickly whisked her away by her parents, likely to spare her the disappointment of seeing her float recycled. And I just stood there and puffed my chest and frowned at any little brat who as much as looked in the direction of that float until it was too far for them to reach. Whatever the little girl’s wish, I hope it comes true…


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