Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Other Side of the Loi Kratong Festival.

The Loi Kratong festival is always thought of as a beautiful festival. 

When the festival takes place the Thai people will cut a small piece of their hair, and a small piece of their finger nail to put in the basket in doing so I guess they are giving the gods a symbol of what in modern times would be classed as a DNA sample. Usually some coins will be added too to bring good luck.

The basket is set afloat in a river or in the sea accompanied by a wish, with the aim of floating away all the bad things and wishing for good things. But what people may not think about is the Kratongs end up somewhere and leave what will definitely be bad things for the people who have to deal with them. The custom of floating a 'Kratong' or basket was traditionally based on the use of natural materials, but in modern times the Kratongs are being made using nails and pins rather than small bamboo sticks. None of this would be a problem if floating was only done in lakes and reservoirs where the baskets can be collected (many organised festival events will do this), but because of the belief that the basket has to float away and that it is bad luck if it returns, the people prefer to float in the rivers and seas.

At Bon Island I arrive to find a beach full of broken Kratongs which, in the old days, would have been made of natural materials but, in modern times, are made of a mixture of nails and pins just waiting for some unfortunate person to step on!

These are the various different objects that are used in modern times in place of the bamboo sticks traditionally used to fix the leaves on to the body of the Kratong.

So please everyone out there 

 think about how you make your Kratongs next year!

While I was collecting the rubbish created by the Loi Kratong Festival 
I saw this 'coconut face' looking as horrified as I was!