Friday, November 7, 2014

Loy Krathong in St. Lucia

When we try to live in harmony with the nature, we respect more the resources and our natural environment, something we may not give as value before. We are a mixed Thai-Portuguese family so most of festivals are celebrated on s/v Dee. This year is the first year we officially live on our floating house and travel with it. We just celebrated a Thai festival called “Loy Krathong”.

What is Loy Krathong? It's one of the important festival for Thai people. It's celebrated annually but not in a fixed date. It falls on the full moon of the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, mostly in November. Loy means “floating” and Krathong means “basket” in Thai language. The festival is to express appreciation to the rivers because in the past our ancestors relied on them for drinking water, specially the Chao Praya River, the most important river in Thailand. It's one of the traditions of ancient Thailand, originally believed to begin in the Sukthothai period, in the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng. This festival worship the Goddess of water, Phra Mae Thorani, and it's a way to apologize our misuse of the water resources. Phra Mae Thorani can be compared, in Thai culture, to Poseidon, the God of the sea in the Greek mythology. 

What Thai people do on Loy Krathong's day? Normally Loy Krathong festival is family festival when family members gather to celebrate near the rivers and water courses (not the sea) then continue with a fair in the temple because the Thai way of life always starts near the rivers. The day before Loy Krathong's, or in the same day, we will prepare “Krathongs” (floats with flowers). In the past people would use banana trees to carve the float, however, in recent times and in the cities is difficult to find or buy the traditional ones, so Thai people use bread or any other material that can dissolve in the water and decorate it with flowers to make the float.
We used a coconut shell, after we drank the juice and ate the meat. We lighted a candle and three sticks of incense and decorate it with flowers. According to Buddhist religion the candle symbolizes the light of life and the three incenses are dedicate to Buddha, Buddhist's teachings and the Buddhist monks. Sometimes Thai people will cut the nails and hair to put inside the “Krathong”, by doing so, we believe that it will change one's bad fortune through the ceremony.

This year 2014 on Loy Krathong's Day we were anchored in St. Lucia, West Indies. Our family celebrated the Traditional Thai festival even we couldn't see the moon because of the heavy rain but we respect the culture, the nature and the Goddess.

Happy Loy Krathong's to everyone.
Our boat made "Krathong"
Maria Dee is saying "Coconut"
After we light the candle and the incences
Captain of s/v Dee released "Krathong" in sea
Wishing bad luck to go away and worship the Goddess of the water

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