Walking towards Yannawa temple to observe the crowds at Loy Krathong festival.
The fullmoon day in November was always a very special day in Thailand. It’s the last full moon of the twelveth month according to lunar calendar. On that day, Loy Krathong festivals would be held in Buddhist temples in the country. People would gather at temples along canals and rivers to float their lotus shaped vessels on water. In the past, these vessels were made from banana shoots and leaves so they could disintegrate naturally. Nowadays there were modified vessels made from bread, ice cubes and other edible food for fish in the river. This was the people’s effort in trying to reduce inorganic rubbish in canals and rivers.
But the huge number of floating vessels or krathongs became a burden on nature and local authorities had to clean up used krathongs for a few days. This year, some local authority had suggested that people floated digital krathongs on canals while some provided artificial ponds for floating krathongs. In this way, the clean up of krathongs was very fast and easy later on. I hadn’t floated any krathong in Bangkok for ages as I would usually float my home made banana vessel on the big river bordering between Thailand and Laos.
Krathongs are floating vessels usually made with banana leaves and decorative flowers. Some incense and candles in the vessel should be lighted before making a wish then floating them on water.
This year I was stuck in the city so I decided to walk along New Road towards Yannawa temple to observe how the festival would be like after a long lockdown. This year, most provincial and local authorities have become quite extravagant in promoting all national festivals. People were also ready to splash out to enjoy festivals as if to make up for years of abstinence. There were crowds of people walking along the roads at night. Vendors’ stalls selling colourful krathongs could be spotted along roads and footpaths.
I was rather early as I wanted to leave the temple before it became too crowded to move around easily. I took photos of the old road, which was the first road constructed during the reign of King Rama V (about 120 years ago). I hoped this road would remain the same without being widened or changed drastically. I felt at home walking this same old road since my school days. All the vendors’ faces were familiar to me as they have been around almost twenty years. Most vendors around this area knew each other very well. The atmosphere was like a little village of elderly people trying to make their living by selling flowers, fruits, vegetables and snacks.
During this festival, there were some new vendors selling snacks for the day of festival. These vendors tended to mark up their prices. I was glad the old lady was back selling steamed sweet corns. I made sure I got one on my way back later. It was nice that I could bargain with vendors with good humour. She recognised me and gave me a nice big sweet corn. My fridge was full, as my old friend sent me several food boxes, otherwise I would have bought three for the price of two sweetcorns! Next time, perhaps, I had to make room in the fridge.
The Ghost Tower opposite the temple looked very quiet and lonely. In the past, tourists would bribe the guard to have acceu to the tower. These crazy tourists would climb hundreds of stairs in darkness to the top of the tower to take photos of Bangkok during sunset. It used to be a competitive endeavour among these young tourists to see who dared to expose themselves to more dangerous and risky corners of the tower. In the past, I used to see almost a hundred younsters jumping and climbing on the roof of the tower. Perhaps, the guard was sacked for taking bribes and the entrance was firmly shut these days.
The festivity reminded me of old friends from Finland who came to Thailand for Steemfest4 several years ago. I took @gamer00 and his son to Yannawa temple to float their vessels on the river. It was so crowded that I could hardly move at my usual pace. But my friends had a good time taking photos and observing Thai people doing all their rituals and cultural things. There were lots of activities and plenty of street food stalls inside the temple. I wondered whether it would be possible to have a Hive Fest in Bangkok one day.
The future is uncertain and things could change suddenly and unexpectedly. So, these days I became very aware of how precious each moment in our life was and I would snap out of negative vibes. I was glad I went for a walk towards the temple to join the crowded and noisy festivity. Lots of people seeking moments of joy and delight to encourage themselves to soldier on amidst financial difficulties and the pressure to make their livelihoods. People went to temples to forget their bad times and to pray for divine blessings. I shared all their troubles and worries about their uncertain future. Smiling faces full of hope and delight when they floated their vessels on the river. I wished for enormous waves of compassion to heal them all.
I discovered a new coffee shop near the temple. This was the first place I found Christmas decorations. People here liked all festivals and they woud gladly join in the celebrations.
For more photos inside the temple, please follow my next post.
Wishing you peace, good health and prosperity.
Stay strong and cheerful.
The Ghost Tower, Bangkok.