The festivals were so lovely, everything felt so happy, joyous and free! After dinner we walked to the Ping River for the first part, then sending of lighted vessels down the water. We bought our Krathong from a stand on the side of the road – beautiful floats made from a cross-section of banana tree, decorated with intricately folded banana leaves and colorful flowers, and holding candles and incense sticks. We walked along the river watching the first Krathong float by and checking out vendors making more and more of them, plus all the meats on a stick you could ever want! When we got to the next bridge we went to the river bank, lit our lightables to respect Buddha, and sent our Krathong and our resentments down the waters of the Ping. Freedom! Glorious.
Next we walked into the center of Chiang Mai, through the gates, to float ourselves some khom loi. We walked through a park overseen by a blinged out monk statue (where soon after the power went out), then headed toward the starting point of the stream of floating lanterns beginning to fill the sky. We walked into some temple grounds and bought our lanterns, a kind young monk helped us properly light them, we crouched low to the ground while they filled with heat, and then – !!! Release! Up up and away floated our merit! Magical.
Our duty complete, the rest of the evening was spent watching: the parade of floats, beauty queens, musicians and religious groups; fireworks; thousands of people smiling, laughing, enjoying themselves; other lanterns float into the sky and down the river; everything and everyone bathed in the light of the full moon. So much gratitude, love and light. Happy Yi Peng / Loy Krathong!!