Saturday, October 29, 2011

Loy Krathong

Last week, we celebrated the Thai festival of Loy Krathong here in Exile.  Traditionally this annual festival is when Thais pay their respects to the water spirits, to ensure clean and abundant water for the coming year; and to 'float away' their sins and cares of the past year. 

This fesitval is particulalry poignant today  as you would be aware, Thailand and now Bangkok, are suffering from the effects of severe flooding after a series of heavy storms September and early October.  There has been much loss of life, livelihood and housing and the country is ill-equipped to deal with the humanitarian and physical consequences of the flooding.

'Loi' or 'Loy' means to float and a 'krathong' is a little boat made of banana leaf or trunk and decorated with flowers, incense sticks and candles.  People make their own krathongs traditionally, especially children at school, and may decorate them to reflect their lives and concerns, with small figures or offerings.

Our krathongs were made by a group of Thai ladies. All the krathongs were sold to raise money for the flood victims.  Each was unique and beautiful  and some were quite complex:

We launched the krathongs from the beach - out to sea as there are no rivers or canals here:

The function was hosted by the Thai Ambassador, supported by members of the local Thai community. We had a wonderful Thai feast (always food!) and entertainment.  There were various Thai dances, traditional music and a fashion show of Thai ladies' costumes for the last few centuries from different parts of the country, all arranged by the local Thai community.

The photos are all a bit fuzzy as they were handheld, at a distance, in the dark, but they give you a taste of the beautiful costumes and lithe dancers:

We raised quite a bit of money for the flood victims, but it is never enough.  We are using eggcups to bail the ocean.



jabblog said...

The krathongs look so pretty, sailing out to sea and the Thai costumes are beautiful on those exquisite women. How sad for them to know that their home country is in such difficulties.

(How is Ratty? Has he forgiven you yet for changing his status?)

Jenny Woolf said...

Looks like a gorgeous and fascinating event. But, as you say, it is against a sad and difficult background.

Penelope said...

I dreamed of cars and cars fleeing a flooded country although in the dream it was America. We could all do with a day, at least, to mind the water and our relationship with it. I'm always touched to see intricate things wrought only to be soon dissolved – changing form as water does.

The Old Raven said...

Your photos are lovely. The weather devastation this year is absolutely appalling. Would that we opened our eyes.

Manveen Kaur said...

The krathongs are so beautiful. i hope everything turns out well for everyone

lucychili said...

beautiful. i can relate to bailing the ocean with egg cups. so many things feel like that in our strange world. best wishes j