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Loi Krathong Festival 2012

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by Ian Marshall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/ or www.spiritualheartjourney.com
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Fireworks & lanterns at Thailand's light festival
This festival of light in Thailand normally falls in November and this year is no exception with festivities taking place between the 24th and 30th.

It has its roots in the Hindu festival of Divali but as with most things, the Thais have put their unique twist on proceedings and the light offerings given are now for Gautama Buddha rather than Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.

Lanterns, Loi Krathong, Chiang Mai
Loi Krathong lanterns being released

It is celebrated during the full moon when decorated rafts float down rivers, fireworks are set off and lanterns released into the sky.

Loi means to float and Krathong refers to a raft which would have traditionally been made from banana leaves. It is a Buddhist festival and the light offering is also a symbol of letting go of the negative thought patterns, attachments, jealousy and greed.

While this festival is celebrated throughout Thailand (and in some parts of Laos, Burma and Malaysia as well) Chiang Mai boasts one of the best organised and beautiful shows.

One of the reasons it is celebrated with such fervour here is that locals now combine the similar Lanna festival of Yi Peng with Loi Krathong making it double the reason to party and a great opportunity for local Buddhists to gain merit.

In Chiang Mai the main events are held near the University at Mae Jo and at the Thapae Gate in the centre of the old city. There will be cultural performances, a beauty pageant, markets and a prize for the best raft.

Some of the decorations can already be seen near the Three Kings Statue in the centre of town.

Loi Krathong, lights, Three Kings Statue, Chiang Mai
Loi Krathong lights, Three Kings Statue, Chiang Mai

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Why? Festival of Lights
Where: Thailand
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