It has been a couple of weeks now, but November 14th was Loy Krathong in Thailand. It is celebrated on the full moon in November which happened to be the super moon this year. It is one of the most beautiful holidays when the Thai people give thanks to the river gods by floating "Krathongs" in the water. We were told that the celebration was off this year due to the king's death, but at the last minute (which is how most things happen here) all festivities were on.
We began the afternoon at school by making krathongs out of banana trunks as the base and banana leaves creatively folded and twisted to cover the slice of trunk. Once you had a foundation there was no end to the beautiful creations that can be made with all types of flowers (the classroom floor was covered with orchids and many other tropical bouquets found in the students' gardens).
After school we went down to the river just a few kilometers from the school under a major bypass through the town. We hung out for a while observing the locals' ways of saying a prayer, lighting their candles and incense on their krathong, and setting it afloat. It was also customary to set free turtles, catfish, and eels into the river that many people were selling along the way. Radd and Suni chose some baby catfish and snails to feed the river.
When the moon was rising we went up onto the top of the bridge to watch an impressive sight rise above the river to the east. It was all very peaceful to see the candlelit krathongs below us and the super moon above.
Another beautiful and impressive celebration we participated in recently (like today) was "Sports Day" at our school (Piti Suksa Montessori). As the name implies, this day was about celebrating sports, but also sportsmanship and cheering for your competitors and classmates. It also got the parents and teachers involved in some interesting events, like "drag your kid across the grass on a potato sack race." It was one of those days where it's impossible not to have fun.
The day started with a grand entrance complete with a runner carrying a flaming torch above his head. The runner was none other than our boy Radd! After the lighting of the flame, there was a flag raising ceremony, singing and dancing, a Thai boxing exhibition, baton twirling, and I don't know what else because it was just so full of activity. One of the highlights though, was the tug of war. First was the kindergartners, then an upper and lower elementary mix. Then came the parents vs. parents and finally the parents vs. teachers. Who doesn't love feats of strength? The whole school cheered loudly and enthusiastically for their team and in the end every team I pulled on lost. I blame my poor choice of footwear, but it may have been the other members of my team......
Anyway, in the end, the Red Dragons (our team) won the day with the most points, so Radd and Suni got to celebrate the big win and so we took them out for an early pizza dinner at our favorite pizza spot in Thailand, Bon Lom Jen. Scrumptious!