Sunday, November 9, 2014

Loy Krathong Festival, Tampa 2014

I got an invite to the Loi Krathong festival a year ago and yesterday morning I discovered that "today was the day!" I quickly YouTubed it to figure out how to make a krathong and ran to Michael's and my back yard for supplies.


Basically I need Styrofoam bases, pins, candles. I didn't know I also needed incense.

I didn't have the heart to cut up my banana tree or strip it of it's only 4 leaves so I used giant bird of paradise leaves which are plentiful and sometimes annoying in my back yard. Basically you cut and/or fold the large leaves to cover the base and then create a lotus flower design of triangles.

I didn't know how to make the folded parts stand up to form a basket so I made the hill & valley border which worked great for securing flowers. Here I was already to add candles and flowers and say it was finished when I looked outside and an Areca Palm was calling to me.

So I cut a palm leave and then worked out a way to incorporate it and create an even deeper basket. All the while watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel.

I then put dendrobian orchid blooms into the loops and secured crinum lily blooms and candles onto to skewers and stuck them in. Krathong #1 finished!
I had lots of materials left over so I made a second but smaller and simpler krathong because I was running out of time. I used a tea light in this one so I tested it to make sure it worked (sometimes they don't).
Here they are packed in a tub and ready to transport. Notice I took extra candles, flowers, and lighter just in case.

I met up with a coworker and her girl friend so we could take only one car to the temple grounds. When we arrived at watmongkolratanaram we were early and took advantage of the short lines at the food vendors and enjoyed steaming bowls of noodle soup. So good. 

Now that is a krathong masterpiece!

Cute little boy very anxious to launch his krathong.

My friend Tip & Corrine near the giant krathong made mostly of flowers.

The temple grounds are on the Plant River and this is looking out from the sea wall to the T-shaped dock. Notice the end of the dock has stairs into the water for launch krathong. Also, there is an inflatable krathong and two dragons in the water. Everything was covered in Christmas lights and was quite beautiful and magical.

The temple exterior.

Shot inside temple. I wanted to take more photos, and others were, but I was uncomfortable taking photos like a tourist when others were engaged in religious activity.

Tip and I trying to keep our krathongs lit in the wind. Next year, electric tea lite candles. Not only will they stay lit all night but they won't cause a fire - yup, one of the krathong went up in flames and took a few others out with it. The monks had to use the water hose to put out the inferno under the bridge at one point.

On the left is Carrina's krathong which she purchased on the grounds. Most of those purchased are made of paper (might be why there was a fire - fire + paper + wind) and mine. Tip bought incense for us because that is an important part of it that I somehow missed on the You Tube video.

Tip with the krahtong I made for her and it's all lit up!

Because they cannot actually be released "into the wild" there are barriers around the area to keep the krathongs from polluting the river and for allowing fire to float around the river. As a result, on a windy night they raft up creating a beautiful landscape of krathong.

Carrina is about to release her worries and problems and start the new year clean.

There they go!

Tip doing the same.

Letting go.

The girls on the dock.

Oops. I should have turned the photo. We took this on the bridge part of the dock after our krathongs had floated around and rafted up with the others. My little one is second from the right on the top row, carrina's is to the left of it, and you can see half of Tip's in the top center - the palm leaves look like spider legs at this point.

Close up showing the beautiful colors and designs. Mine is the little one that looks like an African violet but with a tea light candle in the middle, and Carrina's yellow and orange one right above it.

From the other side of the bridge we watched other release theirs.

Love these close ups.

This was a very special one made of woven greenery and a monk assisted with this launch.

This photo does not do justice to the beauty and magic of this view. The bridge/raft was lit with white lights reflecting off the water and the krathongs floated by, went under the bridge, and then rafted up. Right after taking this photo we heard a loud crack and a portion of the bridge broke and people fell into the water. Luckily they were not hurt, only wet. The folks beyond the break were stranded for about a half hour until the fire department brought a plank. After that folks brought their krathongs to the bridge and one person took them and handed them off to someone at the water level and he launched them.

We went into the recreation center and watched some of the entertainment and bought some freshly made summer rolls with peanut sauce. We left before the beauty pageant started because it was raining pretty heavily and we were getting cold. Tip was telling us she was in that pageant when she was a teenager. It was a great night despite the wind, rain, fire, and bridge collapse. Oh, and we got lost on the way home but it was funny because we drove through the airport terminal. Every time you are in the area the roads have changed!

1 comment:

Julie said...

What a gorgeous ceremony! I am so impressed with your making of these! Yours turned out so expertly done!!! Looked like a spectacular night despite the small disasters!!!

The Tree Is Up

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