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Loy Krathong...

Well I've officially experienced a Thai festival. There are numerous holidays laced sporadically throughout the year. These holidays typically don't last just one day, oh no, that wouldn't be Thai. No the holidays officially last roughly between three-five days. But the Thai people enjoy celebrating a few days early and carrying the celebration out a few days late. So what you're left with is a week long celebration.

And Thai holidays are not particularly organized or safe. Loy Krathong initially sounded like a beautiful celebration. Children and Adults alike create sweet little boats made of banana leaves and flowers and send them down the rivers and canals. The boats represent their eagerness to repent for their wrongdoings and to hope that they will be swept away like the water in the river. They even repent for the banana trees and flowers that were destroyed in the process of making their boats. And on top of each one is a single candle. So at night it really is a beautiful thing to see watching all these floating flowers go down the current.

But then after you take away everything beautiful of the festival you are left with the carnage!! Lights and flowers are fine and dandy, but people get impatient. They want to get bigger and better ways to express their joy of the holidays. What better way to do so than with fireworks?! Small quiet sparklers, loud cannons, mortars, roman candles, black cats and the shower of sparkles, it's like the fourth of July! But it lasts for 7 days... and there is no hour time line. The fireworks started one day last week, and carried on into that night and through the morning and when the main day of the celebration drew nearer it sounded like a war zone. I'm not complaining I just thought it was very funny waking up and going to sleep to the sound of "gunfire" and "bomb blasts".

The idea of the boats with candles floating down the river was an innocent one. If there was a problem and the candle caught fire to the boat it would calmly burn and then go out. It is in water after all. But what if you take the idea of the boat down the river and change it up a bit. Like lets say you attach the candle to a paper lantern and let it fly off into the night sky. Well then you have the beautiful scene of the boats on the river but they're flying above you. Very very beautiful to be driving through the streets of Chiang Mai and every where you look there are hundreds of lanterns slowly weaving their way through the night sky. Some caught fire and fell calmly to the ground, but nothing serious.

But that's not Thai enough. Nope, not by far. So of course they had to attach fireworks to the lanterns and let them streak across the night sky in a shower of sparkles.

It really was fun, and besides the constant barrage of smoke and the hordes of people meandering about, it was very serene. Unfortunately I didn't get any decent pictures, as my camera doesn't take very good night shots. Oh well, there is always Songkran.. the 3 day long water festival, which will most likely last a whole week. Can't wait for that one!!!