After spending the day cooking with Mama Pea, we head on to the highlight of our Chiang Mai trip. And that’s none other than Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festival.
Visiting Chiang Mai in time for Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festival has been in my bucket list for more than 20 years. So, this trip is a dream come true for me. What made it even more special is when we were there, the festival date fell on November 11, 2019—an auspicious date. It’s been a high-vibration day and you could really feel the magic in the air.
Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festival are a time for “making merit”
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is an event celebrated in Northern Thailand on the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar. It’s made iconic by the paper lanterns released to the sky during the night of the festival. The event has its roots in Buddhism, and it’s considered by the Northern Thai people as a time for making merit. This means releasing all the suffering and mistakes of the previous year and making room for new luck. It’s also an occasion for giving thanks and making offerings to the river for its bounty and blessings.
Yi Peng is observed all over the northern part of the country. However, the best place to witness it is Chiang Mai. Hosted by the Chiang Mai Cultural Center, the celebration is particularly known for its energy and color.
The Yi Peng Festival was previously a standalone festival. These days, however, it’s celebrated in tandem with Loy Krathong. Loy Krathong is a Thai festival of thanksgiving, also observed on the 12th lunar month of the Thai calendar. Just like Yi Peng, Loy Krathong is deeply rooted in Buddhism. Its purpose is to show gratefulness and give offerings to the water gods for the year’s blessings.
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience
I’m truly thankful that we got to go to Chiang Mai as a group to witness Yi Peng. It is, hands down, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t easily forget.
Yi Peng is a cultural experience. You get to know more about the culture of Northern Thailand, see the many different tribes there, and have a glimpse of how they live. You get to support them by buying their handicrafts, some of which can take two whole years to make.
Yi Peng is also a fun experience. It’s not just a time for making merit; it’s a time for merrymaking. There’s so much dancing and eating and drinking going on, and we gladly took part where we can.
Most of all, Yi Peng, along with Loy Krathong, is a spiritual, soul-feeding experience. Watching your krathong floating on the river is like watching your suffering floating away and leaving room for happiness and joy. Watching your lantern float up to the sky with your wishes written on them is like leaving room for hope. Above all, it’s a celebration of life, a celebration of the earth, a celebration of the universe, and a show of gratefulness for all the energy they have given us. It’s an opportunity to give thanks to the river for all the prosperity that we’ve got.
Watch the episode here: https://bit.ly/NFSSeason2Ep13