Saturday, January 12, 2013

Loy Krathong 2555

Our krathong (floats) ready to go down the river
Thailand's Loi Krathong ("Floating Crown") Festival honors Buddha and the Goddess of Water through the creation of floating banana leaf boats. Every November, citizens throughout the country cut  banana tree trunks into bases for their  krathong, or"floating crowns", and decorate the base with banana leaves carefully cut and folded into intricate shapes. Once the float is decorated with banana leaves and flowers, people place incense sticks and a candle in the center of the float to light before sending their creations down a river or stream.  Many believe lighting candles venerates Buddha, while releasing the banana leaf floats down the river symbolizes the letting go of one's hatred, fears and negative thoughts.

Two months ago, the neighborhood kids took me under their wing as a banana boat maker's apprentice, as one of the sixth grade girls taught me how to cut and fold banana leaves into intricate triangles and my host sister picked flowers to decorate the boat's base. By the end of the day, I had an exceptionally beautiful first float to send my worries down the river for Loi Krathong.

*Source: Wikipedia (of course)

A 5th grader separates banana leaves to fold into triangles for her float.
Basket of flowers for float decorating.
So proud of my first Loy Krathong float *thanks kids!*
Saying goodbye to past fears and concerns...
Fears and worries float away, making way for a brand new year!

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