Michael and Susan left Florida in 2007 aboard their Westsail 43 INFINI to fullfill a dream of full time cruising.
Nov 17 - Loi Krathong
We rented a car with David & Peggy (sv Rhthym) to go to Krabi town and find the Loi Krathong festivities. In researching the holiday, I came across this blog entry from Justine at www.journals.worldnomads.com, and thought I'd quote part of the wonderful description entered (Nov 2007): "Loy Krathong falls on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, after the rainy season has ended, when the tides are strong and the rivers full. The tradition is to float a krathong -- a lotus-shaped raft woven of banana leaf and decorated with flowers, a candle and 3 incense sticks, resembling a birthday cake -- on the river or sea, and to send it off with a wish. It seems to have many meanings. The most important is to give thanks to the goddess of water, to apologize for polluting her waters and to ask for forgiveness for taking water from the rivers all year long. It’s also considered the festival of light, and many suggest that it is related to the Hindu celebration of Diwali, adopted back when the region was Hindu and then transformed and blended with animist beliefs over the centuries.
The celebration is supposed to be most beautiful in towns and cities on rivers, like Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Sukkothai, at least according to the guidebooks. Thankfully they don't mention Krabi town, which also has a river running though it, and fewer tourists and more manageable crowds than the more popular destinations. Krabi is a small town, the provincial capital, and sits along the Krabi River. Most people just pass through on the way to Railay and the islands of the Andaman Sea...
In the afternoon, people began setting up card tables along the river to sell the krathongs. Next to the tables, spread out on cloths, sat more people weaving the little baskets, or rafts. The base is a slice of banana tree, and banana leaves are woven around to make the lotus flower shape. Inside, flowers are arranged around a candle and three sticks of incense. No krathong is alike, and I greatly enjoyed walking along the river and admiring the different interpretations. The greatest variation was in the kinds of flowers used to decorate the krathongs. Orchids of all colors were most common, but also marigold, chrysanthemum, sunflowers, many kinds of wildflowers, and even some colorful tropical foliage. Some were very large, like birthday cakes (for those who take very long showers and need to ask for extra forgiveness). Some were made of bread, and I later read that this is the ubher-environmental krathong, since it will degrade fastest. Apparently not too long ago, krathongs were made of styrofoam until the environmentalists put a halt to that."
We walked thru the carnival atmosphere and ate delicious street food from the abundance offered. We also met up with George of sv Australis, who had anchored nearby the main dock and dinghied in to enjoy the happenings. I purchased a krathong, lit the candle (which refused to stay lit in the wind) and incense, placed a coin on the top, said a prayer of forgiveness and thanks, and launched it down river, along with many others. After our ceremony, we walked a bit more and had a beer with George at one of the riverfront bars. Lanterns with lit candles are set off also, but we never did find out what time that was supposed to happen; we think midnight. We were tucked in bed and out for the night by then.... Pic: George, David, M & Peggie. It's launch time.