Name…Mr. Setthawut Maneepathompong
BA.English Batch 7/1 ID: 535302414
Loy krathong’s Day
Nov 22,2007: THIS evening, as the Thai people go to the nearby rivers, khlongs or ponds to float their lotus-shaped vessels made of banana leaves, they will be evoking the spirit of the sacred past, with a blessing of a full moon. Of all the Thai festivals, Loy Krathong is perhaps one of the most ritualistic and colourful events, rich in religious and spiritual expression. A krathong normally comes with a candle, three-joss-sticks and some flowers. Floating the krathong down the river during the high tide, and after the rainy season is over, not only signifies the attempt to purge evil or bad luck, but also represents an act of worshipping the Goddess of the water. Therein lies the influence of Brahminism. Brahmin rites cannot be separated from the traditional religious practices of the Thais. But ancient Thai beliefs and folklore also hold that there are higher spirits residing everywhere, in the rivers, the trees and the mountains. There are virtually no places on earth that are not, or have not been, occupied by ghosts or by gods. You are supposed to act with reservation and not to speak out loud when you are in a forest because you do not want to disturb the spirits. But in Western thought, a forest is nothing but a wilderness for man to conquer. For Bt3,800 a ticket at the Shangri-la Hotel, you can observe the delights of fireworks above the Chao Phraya River while having your favourite wine and food. Other Bangkok hotels, with an eye for the dollar, also go at top gear with their Loy Krathong gimmicks. This is an idle, if not rather expensive, way to let the Loy Krathong Day slip by without philosophising or without the trouble fighting the crowds on the riverbanks. Nowhere in Thailand is the Loy Krathong Festival held with more fanfare than at Sukhothai, one of the ancient capitals that lies about 450 kilometres north of Bangkok. Despite its past grandeur, and its Utopian characteristics, Sukhothai's existence comes to the fore only once a year, at the time of Loy Krathong. For most of the year Sukhothai is far from the Thai consciousness, like the ruins of its past that are forever buried under layers of the earth. Reviving Sukhothai can only be done necessarily by popularising it, with modern lights and sounds against the background of its decaying structures. But as the young girls, clad in exquisite Thai costumes, prepare to float their krathongs into the pond of the Sukhothai historical park in front of the thousands of visitors, they almost unconsciously might have formed an elusive image of the grandiose Noppamas in their imaginations. What Venus is to beauty for the ancient Greeks, Noppamas is beauty for Thais. And one way of popularising Noppamas is to immortalise her through the Noppamas Beauty Queen Contest, held not only in Sukhothai but elsewhere throughout the country. Legend has it that Noppamas, a beautiful lady of exceptional wit and charm, was the first to have devised the krathong in the 13th century. She served in the court of King Lithai, the grandson of King Ramkhamhaeng The Great. A favourite of the king, Noppamas was said to have raised court mannerisms and practices to a high order. The krathong she floated created a lasting tradition that is still observed today, though with different imageries. Now Loy Krathong is firmly connected with the worldly desires for material gains. Young Thai couples also find the festival auspicious enough to bind their love together. You will know a Thai girl's boyfriend by waiting to see with whom she goes to float the krathong with. Little do the young couples realise, however, that once they float the krathong, which is supposed to hold their spirits together, they let go their destiny into the realm of the unknown. While most Thais know Noppamas by associating her with the Loy Krathong Festival, few have...
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