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Loy Krathong: tradition, reflection, and nature's gratitude

Loy Krathong is a beautiful Thai festival celebrated on the first full moon of November.

The heart of Loy Krathong lies in the act of making and releasing Krathongs, small, beautifully decorated floating baskets made from banana leaves, flowers and other materials a creative mind can think of.

To make our krathongs, we cut banana trunks for the boat base and collect banana leaves from our farm.

All ages are participate in the art of making krathongs, from the smallest of our children to the care-mothers.

Aware of the upcoming prestigious krathong competition, they ignite their creative minds to craft something extraordinary.

In Baan Unrak we use only natural materials for our krathongs.

It is environmentally friendly, but it challenges the children and makes them think how to bring their designs to life. Children use sticks and straws instead as nails, just like is used to be for many years.

The children are very proud of their works.

And rightfully so - just see the beautiful krathongs they have made!

And even more!

Everyone is waiting to know the winners of the competition.

But first - meditation and a big special dinner sponsored by our friends.

Now, when our stomachs are full of tasty and nutritious food, we make final arrangements before settling once more into candlelit meditation.

The hall is completely quiet, but the air vibrates with anticipation.

With the help of volunteers, Didi is choosing the best krathongs.

She is looking for the most beautiful, original and made solely from natural materials.

When the winners are named, we each pick our krathong and start our walk to the lake.

Accompanied by the radiant full moon, we walk in a solemn procession, carrying the krathongs and singing Baba Nam Kevalam (love is all).

It is the time to ignite the candles by carefully sharing the light with each other.

Didi gives her krathong to the Water and we all follow her in this beautiful tradition.

In this way, we show our gratitude to the goddess of water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for providing life-sustaining water throughout the year.

It's also a time for reflection and letting go of negative thoughts, grudges, and misfortunes, allowing participants to start afresh.

Watching the lights float away purifies our minds from the old patterns and gives hope for the bright life ahead.

Letting the lantern fly in the sky, we let go the anger, hatred and all the negative thoughts.

A beautiful act of detaching from the difficult past, allowing its existence in the world without letting it sway us any longer.

In the end on the beautiful night we took our time to enjoy the spectacular view.

Amidst the serene ambiance, children stood beside the fire gazing at the full moon and its reflection shimmering on the lake's surface. Despite the presence of many children, tranquility reigned within our minds, keeping them serene and composed.

As the final echoes faded away, leaving only the soothing chirps of crickets, we retired for the night.

This was the end of celebration, yet the following day some work was waiting for us.

Even though we use only natural materials to make our krathongs, not all tiny boats that get into our lake are nature friendly. That's why the next day we went to collect the krathongs we could find to remove them from the water and prevent the danger to the nature.

Caring for Mother Nature is our solemn commitment.

Looking ahead to the next year, we aim to elevate our commitment, taking our environmental stewardship to greater heights.

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