Paper Lanterns, Thai Buddhism and Fragile Self

I came across this on YouTube and thought it was an amazing sight.

Once a year at the Tudong Temple in northern Thailand there is a festival honoring the Lord Buddha where 10,000 lanterns are launched. There are few events in the world to match it for its simplicity, beauty and reverence.


Loy Krathong is held on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar this usually falls in November. It is also known as “Yi Peng”. 

Lanna-style sky lanterns (khom fai) are believed to help rid the locals of troubles and are also taken to decorate houses and streets.  But, by far the best description of this scene was that when launched into the air the lanterns resembled “large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky.”

In addition to the candle ceremony (both on water and in the air), chanting and meditation takes place. The originally Brahmanic festival was adapted by Thai Buddhists to honour the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama.  The candles venerates the Buddha with an offering of light and the act of floating away, in the air or in the water, refers to the releasing of anger, greed and ignorance from the mind and generating a fresh and austere beginning without the afflictions of the three poisons.  The floating of the raft on water is also seen as honouring the Goddess of Water,  Phra Mae Khongkha and provide good luck, which can never hurt.


2 thoughts on “Paper Lanterns, Thai Buddhism and Fragile Self

  1. Thanks for the video, those are great.
    Although, a word to anyone who wants to make their own, we tried that with about six lanterns, and thought they were properly made. Except ours had a tendancy, after rising far into the sky, to catch fire and fall in a great flaming heap! One missed a parked car by about six feet, and the others, way in the distance, were glowing balls of light as they fell into the mountains. “Please don’t start a forest fire, please don’t start a forest fire, please don’t…”!!! (Thankfully, they didn’t)

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