During the month of November, there is a festival in Northern Thailand called the Thai lantern festival. Its name, Yi Peng, translates into Floating Lights Festival, and literally thousands of people gather each year to release their lanterns in Unison and watch them float in to the night sky. These traditional Thai holidays which happens during the second month of the Thai calendar year, is a breathtaking event to watch on video, and even more stunning to witness in person. As the legend suggests it, many lanterns are released and go on to soar for hours, the result is a night sky full of awe inspiring flickers of light that illuminate the whole city.
The Floating Lantern – The Ceremony
The ceremony is conducted on a full moon during the second month of the Lanna calendar. Thousands and thousands of people gather to release their hand crafted lanterns into the night sky in an attempt to bring glory to the Buddhist religion. It is also symbolic of personal release and forgiveness. As the lantern is lifted into the air, the owner closes their eyes, makes a wish, and lets all of their troubles float peacefully away. The lanterns are symbolic of freeing the soul, and this good luck ceremony has become so well known and popular that it is expanding to the Loy Krathong festival held by the rest of the country.
The airborne lanterns are crafted out of rice paper and bamboo, and inside them hold a very small candle or other waxy flammable substance. When the lanterns’ candle is ignited, the hot air trapped inside of the lantern causes changes in pressure that allow the lantern to float. Each piece of the rice paper is custom crafted with unique features, and efforts are made to avoid safety issues. There is always the danger of these lanterns catching fire once they hit the ground or getting hung up in trees or wires. The danger of consumption from wildlife or domesticated animals exists as well, but measures are constantly being taken to ensure nothing of that nature happens.
The awe inspiring floating lantern festival of Thailand is a wonder who’s experience cannot be completely understood through media representation. Even those who think it looks good but not truly remarkable, there is no way to express in words the brilliance of seeing the night sky lit up with thousands of floating lanterns. It’s truly an event you need to experience for yourself to appreciate its magnificence and wonder.