Loy Krathong the Thai Festival of Light
Loy Krathong is one of the most fabulous and beautiful of all the Thai festivals. ‘Loy’ means ‘to float in Thai, while ‘Krathong’ is a small raft, about a hand span in diameter, made from a section of banana tree trunk. Thais decorate their Krathongs with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, and incense sticks. Some people also add food, nuts, coins, hair or fingernail clippings (hmmm not sure what the nail and hair clippings are for but ok.).
The Loy Krathong festival dates back to the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom, about 700 years ago. It marked the end of the rainy season and the main rice harvest. It is believed to be based on a Hindu tradition.
People paid tribute to 3 different Gods:
- Lord Shiva (Pra I-Suan), the destroyer (http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/shiva.htm#.VE6h7skrCEI)
- Lord Vishnu (Pra Narai), the Preserver (http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/vishnu.htm#.VE6ia8krCEI)
- and Lord Brahma (Pra Prom), the Creator (http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/brahma.htm#.VE6inskrCEI )
This is also time to thank the Hindi Water Goddess Phra Mae Kong Ka of the sacred Ganges River. About 150 years ago with the urging of King Mongkut (Rama IV), the festival was adopted by Buddhists as a ceremony to honor the Buddha.
Another story tells of farmers from Sukhothai holding a festival of floating candles. One year, a beautiful woman called Noppamas, who was the chief royal consort, made some special lanterns for the festival. She made them from banana leaves and shaped them like lotus flowers. The king was impressed with what he saw, so he announced that krathongs would be floated on the water every year from then on. Today, the memory of that woman who made the first krathong is remembered in a beauty contest called “The Noppamas Queen Contest”.
Just like many stories there are several paths to the same answer. All are different and interesting in their own way.
This festival takes place during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month and this year will take place from Wednesday, November 5 to Friday, November 7. You are to make a wish and let your Krathong float down the water. The flame of the candle signifies longevity, fulfillment of wishes, and release from sins.
This is also a show of leaving behind the trials and tribulations of the year, releasing anger and grudges, a beautiful cleansing for the soul. With the release of the bad, there is a welcoming of the spirit of good fun or ‘sanook’ – something they know a lot about. People will watch their floating devices intensely hoping the candle will last as long as possible. Waterways during Loy Krathong will turn into a brilliant bed of candles and color. They are the most spectacular in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mia.
Watch this cool video to see how to make your own Krathong:
Also at night there will be a release of paper lanterns that are adorned with a message or a wish with a candle placed inside. On the count of three, the crowd let go of their insecurities, hopes and dreams – whatever these may be – and release their lanterns up to the sky.
“The tradition is rooted in the idea that people would sacrifice their time to design and create beautiful lanterns only to release them up to one of three Brahmin Gods – Pra I-Suan, Pra Narai, and Pra Prom, in the hope that the bright light would lead them from darkness to more prosperous times.”
In true Thai style, there will be traditional Thai dancing, concerts, fireworks and even beauty pageants. There will also be contest for the most elaborate Krathongs.
Kind of like the Macy’s Day Parade but Thai Style.
The Monkey Festival
The Monkey Festival is another fun holiday in Thailand this month. So on Tuesday, November 25, as we are getting ready for Thanksgiving, the Monkeys of Lopburi province, North of Bangkok, will be chowing down on 4,000 kilos of fruits, vegetables, cakes, and candies. There are about 3,000 monkeys that live in this area. This is a fun made up holiday that began in 1989 by a local businessman to bring more tourists to his area! I think he succeeded.
There will be dancing, plays, music, and lots of people dressed as monkeys and monkey statues. So if you want to bring out your playful monkey side this is the place to be.
A word of wisdom from Festival Asia: these monkeys are very accustomed to human presence and they won’t hesitate a second to climb on people and “borrow” valuables or food for an undefined period of time. (This is so true; I had a friend visit and she said if you took your shoes off to pray you need to kneel on your shoes because the monkeys will come steal them and then you have to “pay” them to get them back. That is if they feel like cooperating! LOL)
Our Holiday Open House is November 19th from 5 to 8pm-ish
This year is going to be over the Moon! We have so many great new items that will be debuting at the Open House. From colorful travel mugs, Pepper Spray with a little Bling, Poo-Pourri, and tons of fun kitsch items from England that are beyond adorable.
This year we will have more of a “Holiday Market” feel. We will be using the space next door to the shop and will have a wonderful gathering of some of my favorite people showing their wares. Here are some of things we have in store:
- Beautiful Stained Glass by TresArt Glass
- Long lasting Soy/Beeswax Candles by Earthglow
- Fun jewelry
- Adult goodies (these will be in a separate room so no worries, kiddos are still welcome as always)
- Knitted items from Yarn Fairies
- Brandy and Jaidra will be in the house creating beautiful henna art work
- and who knows what else you might come across!
There will also be yummy eats, Mexican Ponche as always, specials, door prizes and other stuffs.
So grab some friends and stop in and pick up a few things for yourself or check off a few items from your Gift Giving List.
This year we are supporting Speak For Animals with our Coupon Books. Purchase a coupon book for $20 and receive over $200 in savings. And yes, these coupons are different than last year’s book. Here are two samples:
All proceeds benefit Speak for Animals, a Greenville, SC 501c3 non profit that saves and improves the lives of dogs and cats by providing low-cost spay and neuter programs:
- $25 Government Assistance
- $25 Fix-A-Pit Bull
- $70 Low-Cost
Announcing a Raspberry Moon Festival of Trees Photo Contest
I will be decorating a tree for the Festival of Trees again. My tree this year will be at The Hampton Inn across from The Lazy Goat. Stop by and take a picture of the tree and upload it to Facebook. Be sure to tag Raspberry Moon’s Facebook page (or post the pics to our Facebook page directly).
At the end of the year all those who have posted a picture will be entered into a drawing to win a little sercie!
After you view the trees, head next door to The Lazy Goat to hang out with my friend Juan and have a strawberry Caipirinha, my favorite. Tell him I sent you. Love him.
Sunday Appointments and December Saturdays Shopping Hours
Did you know that we now have an online booking system? Check it out at www.RaspberryMoonST.com (click the Book Your Appointment button on the right). We are slowly but surely moving everything over to this new system. The new system will enable us to send appointment confirmations, reminders, and allow you to change your appointment.
Out of the office:
- Nov 9-10 – Hickory, NC for Southern Spa Salon Conference – getting some education and checking out new items
- Dec 23-29 – Out of town for the holidays
Other than that, work is on like usual! I will also be open on Saturdays, December 6th and 20th, from 10am-2pm to help you with your last-minute Christmas shopping.
Sundays I will be working through the end of the year:
- November 2 & 16
- December 7 & 21