Thai Temple Loy Krathong Festival 2011
Hello everyone. This past Saturday night I attended the Krathong Festival at the Thai Temple in Tampa, FL on Palm River Road. The temple is located on a river and is a popular place to go on Sundays when members prepare and sell authentic food to the public. It is a beautiful and peaceful place with many picnic tables and a meditation garden. This was the first time I had been there at night. the following paragraph is copied from the Temple’s website and gives some history on the Festival:
Loy Krathong originated about 700 years ago in the Sukhothai kingdom. Sukhothai is located about half way between Bangkok and Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. The farmers during this period of Thai history held a festival to launch floating candles to thank the water god for the waters. This ceremony coincided with the end of the harvest season. A beautiful woman named Noppamas made the first decorated krathong using banana leaves in the shape of a lotus flower. King Lithai saw the decorated float and decreed that krathongs would be floated every year.
The central event in Loy Krathong is the launching of krathongs. A krathong is a small lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves, flowers, candles, and three incense sticks. Don’t be confused by this simple description. Many krathongs are elaborate vessels that take many hours to construct. People launch the krathongs into any “large” body of water to carry away their bad luck. Prior to launching they light the candle and incense and make a wish. It is considered good luck if the krathong floats away from you.
In addition to the launching of the Krathongs there was a fashion show and beauty contest. I did not stay for the entire beauty contest but did see a part of it where people were able to vote for their favorite contestant but buying balloons and presenting the contestants with them.
The contestants were all very beautiful and I felt bad for the ones that did not get a lot of balloons! When I wandered back outside I came upon this beautiful girl performing with hula hoops that lit up and then with this one that was set on fire! I am so happy I was in the right place at the right time to capture these shots!
It was a great night with a variety of unique sights to see and a positive fun atmosphere! If you would like to know more about the market there held every Sunday, here is the link.