Micah: Unmitigated

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The Holiday

November 2nd, 2009 at 22:49

The night of the first full moon during the month of November, Thai’s celebrate Loy Krathong. Little boats or discs of banana tree are arranged to float and carry candles and incense. Then, set adrift down rivers or other bodies of water to symbolize letting go of ones troubles and to create good luck for the coming year. Prayers or wishes are also often said before one releases the Krathong.

With family in town, banana parts were collected from the farm, and vessels were constructed. After a amazing meal, we piled into the car and headed down to the reservoir. In the Picture below, the boat in my right hand was designated as mine and made by the Hostess and her parents.

Boat launch

Boat launch

Also part of the celebration: Lanterns of paper called Khom Fai, are set free into the sky like hot air balloons. I received a lantern as part of a bargain my Host made while shopping in Bangkok. Now to set the scene, you need to know this: Lanterns are not allowed to be launched in cities, but Host says that the reservoir site has been approved on the night of Loy Krathong. Also, we witnessed at least 50 take flight while there.

Host had already sent his on a successful flight and now it was my turn to step up. With the Father providing the torch, I held the base of the lantern low to the ground to shield the wind. While we did this, a Policeman came by and said some words in Thai that didn’t seem friendly. Members of the group said some words in reply and pointed to others who were lighting up. The officer moved on. After the paper balloon had filled with warm air, I raised it up and posed for the picture below.

Lantern launch

If you don't like my fire, then don't come around.

I began to gently ease my grip on the wooden base and made sure my launch angle was true and free of obstructions. Out of the darkness, from my left, the Policeman jumped in and ripped the balloon from the air. Hurling it into the water and giving it one good stomp deeper into the mud. He walked off without words and we stood there stunned for a few seconds, not really believing what just happened. Host was upset and my Thai friends were apologetic and told me I did nothing wrong. The event brought our night to a halt as we headed back to the cars, with members occasionally stopping to voice there complaints to men in uniform that would listen. I left feeling disappointed but maybe more stunned than anything. The ritual does not have as much meaning to me as it does to the locals and maybe the man felt that I should not be participating. Maybe he was just having a bad day and decided to pick on some white people. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Overall, I am really glad I got to be apart of this once a year celebration, especially to be able to share it with a local family. The incident is just another story and doesn’t have to be a bad memory or scar on a such a enjoyable trip. Although I do hope that this ends up being my only run-in with a law enforcement officer. ไม่สามารถเราทั้งหมดเพียงเข้ากันได้

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3 Responses to “The Holiday”

  1. Stanley Says:

    Heats of men? Who knows, indeed…

  2. Micahoe Says:

    I fixed it.

  3. Nick Says:

    Dude, people are always trying to keep the white man down. Hang in there. You shall overcome.