Floating Lanterns: Khom Loy Festival in Chiang Mai
There are hundreds of accounts and travelogues describing Thailand’s rich and diverse culture. In fact, Time Magazine depicted Thailand as the “the most visited city in the world by international tourists, according to the third annual Global Destination Cities Index.” While the list of Thailand’s wonders continue to grow as tourists arrive every day, the city of Chiang Mai has something more to offer than that of spicy Tom Yum Gum.
Khom Loy Festival
The annual festival in Northern Thailand, Khom Loi Festival (translated as ‘Floating Lantern’), is one of the main events in the country. According to Wishlantern, “Northern Thailand could well be said to be the world wide home of wish lanterns … In Thailand, like nowhere else, wish lanterns are widely used all year round for celebrations including breathtaking lantern festivals, and are a part of the fabric of Thai culture.”
More Than Just An Old Tradition
Khom loy is done traditionally to bring good luck, as many Thais deeply believe that letting lanterns fly away is a symbolic gesture of letting go of the worries and problems. As Skycandle described it, khom loy is a “tradition to offer the lanterns to Temples and monks, as givers believe they will receive enlightenment in return, as the flame of the lantern is said to symbolize wisdom. The lantern’s light shows them to the ‘right path’.”
Thais generally decorate their gardens, temples, and houses with handmade paper lanterns of different designs and forms. This widely practiced tradition in Northern Thailand became so popular that Thais integrated this yearly festival into the Loi Krathong festival.