07 November, 2006

Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand
~ whatever floats your Baht

The trick is first to get your balloon past any overhead telephone wires.
We've seen a few disasters in our time.
'Loy' means 'to float'. A Krathong (pronounced 'Kra-tong') is a small boat made of banana leaf, carrying a small candle, 3 incense sticks, and (often) a small coin. Couples often like to release 2 Krathongs and watch to see if they stay together or float apart. Either way, you will have good luck if the flames stay alight until the Krathong disappears in the distance.

This year, authorities asked that each family restrict itself to one Krathong only,
in order to keep the clean-up manageable afterwards. Fish in the river must wonder what the hell is going on.

It's Loi Krathong time again. Up here in the north, the city of Chiangmai has put on its best party-dress and is having bulk fun ('sanook'). There's a huuuuge flower festival and the streets are FULL of colour. Fireworks pop and swizzle in sinewy circles, hundreds of tube-like hot-air 'balloons' stud the night sky, parades sashay through streets with dancers and floats, and everyone floats a 'Krathong' on the river to bring good luck. Normally sedate Buddhist temples host 'temple fairs' with glitzy entertainment, food-stalls, shops, bright lights.

Chiangmai authorities were apparently pleased with the reduced accident rate this year - only 17 people were blinded by the fireworks.

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