Yi Peng and Loy Krathong are traditional festivals that happen every year in Thailand. Loy Krathong is celebrated on the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai Lunar calendar. Yi Peng is a Lanna (Northern Thai) festival and is based on the Lanna calendar and is on the full moon of the second month of this calendar. However, the two festivals fall at the same time and are celebrated in similar ways with similar meaning.
Loy Kathong is traditionally celebrated to pay honor to the goddess of water and Lord Buddha and as a way to send away misfortune and ask for good luck in the future. Many people will make krathongs (small floating offerings) out of the leaves and trunk of the banana tree and decorate them with candles, flowers and incense. They will then be floated down a river as a way to pay honor. In modern times it is also celebrated with parades and many fireworks and sky lanterns which can be seen and heard all over Chiang Mai.
Yi Peng is a time for paying respect to Buddha and sending away worries and asking for good fortune for the year. It is often celebrated by releasing Kom Loi (Sky lanterns) and decorating houses with lanterns and candles. One of the most amazing places to see this is near Mae Jo University outside of Chiang Mai. Thousands and thousands of people gather together to simultaneously release their lanterns for a sight that is like no other.
ATMA SEVA took a team trip to the Mae Jo lantern release and we have to say that it truly was a spectacular evening for all of us. Here are some of the pictures from the night!
Written by: Amy Kaylor, on-site intern
Photography by: David Poppe, Programs Director