As some readers know, I’ve been chronicling parts of this journey for Huffington Post. Most HuffPo posts are unique from this blog, but this is the first post where there is similar material. If you have already read the HuffPo piece, you can look forward to some more personal insights here.
Call it fate, luck, karma. We all try to reconcile or pasts and wish for better futures. Cultures around the world have created festivals around doing so. We’ve been celebrating the Northern Thai way for the past three days during the Loi Krathong and Yi Peng festivities.
The Loi Krathong portion involves setting floats adrift to pay homage to the spirit of the water. The float takes away the bad parts of the person giving the offering. During Yi Peng, paper hot air lanterns are released into the air, taking misfortunes with them.
Every door in Chiang Mai is decorated with lanterns, the streets are streaming 24 hour music and it seems that every resident is putting on a backyard fireworks display.
Here we are visiting the decorated gates along the Old City moat.
Ava and Kayan colored their own Khom Loi, or hot air lantern, during a party at JJ Market. This video shows them braving the fire to let go of their Khom Loi.
If you’re interested in releasing your own Khom Loi ( FDNY would be at our door in no time if we tried to do this in New York City), here is a step by step guide. This is shown on the smallest Khom Loi. They come in sizes up to about 4 feet, which require at least 4 people to light.
Light the fuel cell.
Wait for your Khom Loi to fill up with air.
Slowly release it.
And bid your misfortunes away.
Happy Loi Krathong.
We have another opportunity to hope our futures are bright when we attend the kite flying festival for Makar Sakranti on January 14, 2012 in Varanasi, India. Stay tuned.