I heard that sometimes young boys would swim out down river to collect the things on the floating lanterns for themselves. I don't know if this was true but seemed likely with mischievous children.
Being there at the launch of the little floats was magical as they had candles on them and you could watch them go down the river. It seemed appropriate to me to think about our sins floating away as we remained here forever different because we had sent them away-forsaken so that we could become a better person. I suspect in the Thai culture that there are those that this holiday has a very serious and deep religious meaning for. While there are others that it was just fun and did not lend itself to any changes in their lives. Just like our celebrations for Christmas or Easter.
I find it interesting and something that we as Americans have in common with Thai people that we both desire to be better peoples. Though we may have different national religions we both desire to improve both individually and nationally. In America we have lots of opportunities to change from a wrong or harmful path to a more positive one. Whether it be new years resolutions or the making of sacred covenants in temples or other houses of worship or possibly visiting a therapist to try to break old self-defeating patterns of behavior. Let us be inspired by other cultures attempts to do the same thing, though they may have different symbolic gestures.
|Loy Krathong in Chaing Mai Thailand|
The floating lanterns in the top picture must be a variation of what I had seen when I was in Thailand. Instead of sending the lighted floats down the river they send them into the air like a kite. I noted that the picture I had seen was from Chaing Mai Thailand and so I asked my wife who had lived there for a while if she ever saw that but she had not. So possibly that is a new variation of the old tradition. The idea of sending away our sins so that we can be a better person is appealing whether it is done down the river or through the air. We then are free to be the people we really want to be not weighed down by the past mistakes. Free to change as well as free to choose!