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Chiang Mai Thailand - All About Chiangmai Thailand


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Loy Krathong Festival is considered to be the prettiest and most peaceable of all the annual occasions in Thailand. According to the legend, some even seven centuries ago the daughter of a Brahmin priest - her name Nang Nophamas, made a decorative float and showed it to the ruler of the southern Kingdom of Sukhothai. Impressed by its (and possible, her) beauty, the King had it set down on the river and since  it's not a bad idea to do what your ruler does, the courtiers followed suit, and the people with them. So much at least for the legend of origin,. The facts may be somewhat different, of course. The mention of the Brahmin priest-official suggests that like other Thai festivals, this one might have arisen in India, where the festival of lights which also features ceremonies involving the floating of decorative vessels take place in the same quarter of the year.

The most important part of the occasion in Chiangmai is the making of Krathong both big and small, their ceremonious parading through the streets of the Northern Capital and their release onto the Ping River and other waterways. On the first day, the small Krathong made of banana stems and leaves and bearing candles, incense sticks, flowers and small coins are carried down to the river and set afloat, with the intention of...............

Well, what exactly ???????

The anthropologists will sternly tell you it's a rite to persuade the local serpent-ruler : PHAYA NAK as he is known in Thailand to halt the monsoon rains, dispel the floods and return the rivers to their normal tranquil ways. As late as the 19th century, they inform us, that the TAI in North Vietnam were sacrificing children with that aim in mind. Some had declared tand believe that PHAYA NAK is still around and can be seen at certain time in the Mekong River. On the other hand, a more credible belief is that Krathong floating is an act of respect and a form of thanks to the Mother of the Waters, MAE KONGKA. Then again, in somewhat intermediate explanation, we are said to be paying our respect to the NGEUAK or female water spirits or alternatively to the PHRA MAHA UPPAKUT - a monk-like being who spends his time meditating in the river, coming out on his alms rounds on the Wednesday mornings when the moon is full and generously rewarding those giving food to him. Not to be ignored is the belief  that when you float your Krathong away, you're getting rid of the year's bad luck - so be careful not to upset your vessel or let it come back to you or you'll start your new year with the old bad luck as an extra burden. If you perspicaciously remark that these are rather confusing beliefs and surely in opposition to the Buddhist teaching about karma, we'll very probably nod our heads in agreement and go on doing and believing in all of them - as we have since time immemorial.


Other Attractive Links:

Loy Krathong   Songkran   Loy Krathong


This site was last updated: 25 January 2007


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