In the ninth grade, my dad took a career aptitude test that told him he had great potential as a florist. Who knew that it would come true almost 40 years later?
A round slice of banana tree trunk sat in front of us and flowers and banana leaves lay everywhere. We picked out exotic flowers to carefully decorate our krathongs, and then placed them on the slice of the trunk. Folded leaves lined the edges and incense and a candle stood in the center.
Everyone’s looked different and everyone took their time and put a lot of effort into creating their krathong. After all, Loi Krathong only takes place once a year. This tradition was believed to originate from the Sukhothai Kingdom in Thailand somewhere between the 13th and 15th century. The Loi Krathong festival is still a very special holiday not only for the Thais, but the Burmese and Laotians as well.
Every year on the full moon of the twelfth Thai month, which usually is sometime in November, all the people build their own krathongs, or floating decorative rafts, to float down the river under the full moon.
The Thai believe that the krathongs send away your bad luck for the next year when you place them in the river. People will also place hair strands and nail clippings on their raft as another way of sending off negative energy.
We had never heard of Loi Krathong before we went to Thailand and only found out because there were signs posted everywhere about the celebration. We were very excited to be able to participate and found it ironic that we were here the one day a year the celebration took place.
After a special Thai dinner that night, all the guests brought their krathongs down to the river, where the incense and candles were lit, and everyone took turns placing their raft in the water and watching it float away.
Afterward, there were special parties and we could see the other nearby hotels celebrating as well by floating giant paper lanterns into the night sky. It was all very interesting to be a part of and I’m glad to know that all my bad luck is gone…well, until next year.