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Yi Peng Festival, Thailand

By Ms Fanclub
23 November 2009 00:00:00

By Natasha Pincus, "Burn Your Name" film clip director


The Yi Peng festival is an off shoot of the Loy Krathong festival (also spelled "Loi Krathong"), an ancient Thai festival that occurs on the 12th full moon every year. It's a magical experience - a festival that is both romantic and explosive, peaceful and wildly energetic.

The festival predominantly involves the widespread making of "krathong" - small, hand-made boats usually made out of banana leaves, decorated with flowers and incense sticks, and a lit candle. They are sent down the river during the festival in their droves.

Loy Krathong is not a religious festival. The launching of a krathong is a spritual gesture, a lasting tradition. The Thai people believe it will bring them good luck as these boats are gifts to the river gods. There is also a romantic slant to the festival - it is said that if a couple release a krathong together and it stays alight until out of sight, their love will last forever. 

The festival is quite a spectacle. Literally thousands of these little candle-lit boats float on the water. There is an air of respect, of tranquility about the ritual. Children, families, couples partake in the launching of their krathong together. It's a special moment. a thoughtful time.

In Chiang Mai (northern Thailand), over the past few decades an offshoot of the Loy Krathong festival has emerged. Known as the "Yi Peng" festival - or festival of lights - the festival takes the original boat ritual up to the sky. Here, people light a lantern that is kind of like a personal hot air balloon and set it adrift, sending all of their troubles away.

The lantern, or "khom loy", is a very simple, environmentally-safe rice-paper structure. Its lighting involves a few preparatory steps...you light its fuel cell, unfurl the lantern, wait patiently as the lantern fills with gas (from the flame's burning) and hold it to the ground to make sure the gas doesn't escape. As it starts to fill, you feel its tug. It wants to leave. You raise it up carefully, then, when you feel the time is right, you gently let it go and it soars up to the sky. You can watch its trajectory for ages - you can see it until it is so far away it looks like a star. When all around you others are doing the same, it is an amazing feeling to see your lantern join everyone else's. You have helped to create a constellation of sorts. You are reminded that individually, you are unique and important, while also entirely belonging to something collective and universal.

Like the boats, the lanterns' launching is a celebration. There is a lot of love in it, fun and joy. The sensation of its release cannot help but release a childlike wonder. As a result the festival atmosphere is electric; everyone is euphoric. A further extension of the lantern festival is fireworks mayhem - all through the festival, people launch rockets, sparklers - anything that razzles and dazzles. All night long the city's soundscape is filled with the the bangs and crackles of fireworks booming and erupting.

For more information on these festivals, check out:



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Kathreen (23 April 2016 07:57:50)
Such a deep anersw! GD&RVVF

Christian (24 October 2015 10:11:32)
these people.. they suck . balls .. hard aighrlt man . lets do this . btdubss that is a MAJOR compliment in my book.(my book is in america. how about you?) yeah so get your thailanian butt dan here to america and suck our balls REALLLY HARD.Thanks much love xx

Nyoman (24 October 2015 09:41:18)
This festival will be set on every full moon day in NovemberPosition is near Mae Jo University, 20 km. north from Chiangmai dotwonwn.Don't worry, civil aviation authority would clear the sky especially for this. All flight to/from CNX will be postponed. And surprisingly, there's almost no fire accident from these lantern reported. Coz if you do it right, the fire will put out in the sky, no harm to land structure.

Julie (10 August 2010 10:53:46)
I’m come from Thailand but now I living in Australia please tell me about the moon in Thailand.
I doing about The Mood Festival I am 12 yr. old anyway > <
Please help me I really want it : D
ps. Tomorrow is Wednesday I’ll come and see what I can find.
Now in Australia 10-20 : D
Well, I am learning though. Tomorrow I learn and I just play :P
Teacher is so scary so pleaseeeeeeeeee !

Jules (21 December 2009 13:09:09)
Well what can I say!! you guys & Natasha have done it again. I have taken a very spiritual and enlightened path over the last few years and this film clip & song have warmed my heaart and soul so much - from my soul to yours - thank you & Namaste

R (14 December 2009 01:35:43)
I loved the video and the song. Congratulations guys and Natasha. I really felt a joy in my soul.

Allison (Ayo from the forum) (28 November 2009 18:58:44)
Just had the opportunity to watch the video after reading Ms Fanclub's information on the festival.

The song is awesome anyway but I really enjoyed the video. It's one of the best I've seen and really captures the mood and emotion of the festival - you can clearly see Bernie's sincerity in the lyrics within the video clip.

Thanks boys - you've outdone yourselves yet again! :-D

Leigh (24 November 2009 17:50:15)
Thanks for such an incredible film clip, Natasha, and for sharing the tender meaning behind this tradition. You captured so many loving emotions on the people's faces. Beautiful!

GALLAMA (24 November 2009 14:04:37)
Thankyou for supplying the indepth information in regards to the lanterns. Makes the clip even more special! :D

MARGARET (24 November 2009 13:35:55)

Lisa Harper (23 November 2009 15:55:16)
Just beautiful :)



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