Okay so sorry its a little late uploading this! Should have been uploaded 28/11/2012.
Loi Krathong takes place on the full moon, at the end of November every year in Thailand. Its a night time festival, where Krathongs (mini floats made from banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense) are lit and put in the river to give thanks to the water goddess, and to ask buddha for good luck for the coming year. I’m not sure of the significance but people put in a nail clipping, a hair and a bit of clothing, as well as an offering of money for buddha.
In my town you could buy small Krathongs for 40bht (80p) but it was much more fun and personal to make them! My Loi Krathong day started at school, with the nursery children, helping them to make theirs and being taught by Mummy Jai how to make my own! A simple way of making a Krathong is to cover the float with banana leaves and pin it together. To make it more interesting you can fold the banana leaf lots of different ways to make more advanced patterns, and then decorate with flowers. All the children gave me the flowers, candle and incense to make mine, so thank you to Anubarn 2/2!
After 3 hours making theKrathongs (with pins, scissors, leaves and flowers cluttered all over the floor and room) it was time for me to find out what the rest of the school were doing. I found some Prathom students practising a dance that they would be performing later, with Teacher Sao helping them to perfect it. Also Prathom 5’s were making Krathongs. I was really proud of mine until I saw theirs.. they were fab and very advanced! I console myself that mine was the first one I’d ever made and the Year 5’s had been doing it every year! Even so, the teachers were impressed I’d made mine, and many said they didn’t know how to which is a shame.
In the afternoon I found an excited group of girls, all running in and out of the spare classroom. They were getting ready for the performance, having hair and makeup done and costumes fitted. I was put to work making them look white.. basically spongeing white creams on their arms. Its the Thai version of fake tan i guess. This took all afternoon, and I left school to get ready for the main fesitval!
The festival was held later that night near the market (and near the river.) There was a Krathong competition where people had made HUGE floats.. so big that it took 5 men to carry them, and some wereso elaborate, with wholedragons made out of folded banana leaf! The teachers got together and we floated our Krathongs down the river and made a wish.
Then there was lots of stuff going on, on stage in Thai. My students performed the dance, and they were so good! I couldn’t believe how grown up they looked in all the make up and costumes! Then there was a beauty pageant for women ( in which 2 of my year 6’s competed in, getting 2nd and 3rd place! The one who got 3rd did a recital in English as her talent!) And then there was a beauty pageant for ladyboys. I was warned they were going to be ladyboys and some did look like men, but the majority of them you really wouldn’t have been able to tell at all. One poor lady had such high heels on she fell over on stage, and many of them sang as their talent. Overall though everyone did really well, and looked brilliant in their costumes!