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Scintillating and Glamorous Yee Peng festival

“If souls had colour, then let them be draped by the shades of golden, like the beautiful sky lanterns that gleam brightly in the black azure of the night.”

Yee Peng festival

Can you envision the beauty of hundreds of thousands of paper lanterns drifting into the full moon sky – genuinely accounting for an awe-inspiring scene that leaves one mystified to gaze and immerse into the beauty?

The magic of the Yee Peng festival in the heart of Chiang Mai offers you this incredible sight to witness.

The wonderment at the pure beauty of numerous lanterns floating around you before drifting up is truly unique.

Thailand’s Yee Peng festival

Owing to its highly significant roots from the Brahmin origins and having close ties with the ancient Lanna kingdom, Yee Peng was traditionally celebrated as a stand-alone event marking the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the cold season.

Thousands of paper lanterns, incredible parades, firework displays, and traditional art performances in public places mark the heart of this festival.

The beautiful lanterns, which are constructed of bamboo and fuel cells, when released into the sky, fill the viewer with awe and wonderment at the pure beauty of numerous lanterns floating around them before drifting up and moving out of sight prompting everyone to delve into the moment and enjoy this picturesque scene.

This elaborate festival which takes place on the full moon of the 12th Thai month (usually November), offers a chance for visitors to witness thousands upon thousands of rice-paper lanterns taken to the night sky on Yi Peng.

Thousands of lanterns, traditionally known there as khom loy, float up into the sky, candles line up the little sois (lanes), and special parades and Krathong (floating flower offerings) can be seen floating on the famous Ping River, which originates in Doi Thai in the Chiang Dao district.

 Lanna Kingdom, Northern Thailand

Digging in the wax circle coil roughs it up and makes the wax coil easier to light, enabling it to thoroughly illuminate its surroundings and brighten up this magnificent city and the souls of its beautiful inhabitants even more.

The much anticipated and extravagant festival of Yee Peng begins with a big procession of monks carrying candles and chanting across the throng.

The ceremony begins as they arrive at the golden Buddha.

People bow in a variety of ways at various points during the ceremony, all of which are taught before the procession begins.

People gather around in homes and temples across the country to sprinkle sacred water on pictures of the Buddha as a type of ritual bathing.

Following the conclusion of the service, the lanterns are lit.

As anticipation for the big finale rises, the vivid energy can literally be felt pulsating through the extravagant crowd.

Plenty of vendors throng the well-lit streets selling lanterns on the alleys and walkaways during the festival, and the streets are bustling with life and energy, radiating fun and excitement.

   Thousands of paper lanterns drifting up

The lanterns aren’t very expensive either only costing about 50 – 100 baht per lantern (currency of Thailand) and lantern sellers usually have a pen or a marker with which they usually write heartfelt messages or sweet wishes for one’s loved ones and relatives to brighten up this already enthralling day.

Every single nook and corner is well-lit and looks absolutely beautiful and picturesque to witness.

Even taking a tranquil stroll down the candlelit lanes feels truly captivating and drives away the dark parts of one’s soul and lights it up, inundating it with positivity and radiance.

The entrances of temples and local houses are decorated beautifully with flowers and coconut leaves to elaborately honor the essence of this festival.

Khom Fai, or delicately designed paper lanterns that can take on various forms, adorn the boundaries of gardens, dwellings, edifices, and places of worship.

Although other towns and cities in northern Thailand celebrate Yee Peng, Chiang Mai is the best place to experience this truly magical festival; therefore, the saying, the essence of the Yee Peng Festival lies in the heart of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai

Nowadays, Yee Peng is celebrated in tandem with Loy Krathong, a festival in which little lotus-shaped floats made out of paper are released in a river. This is said to bring good luck and prosperity.

Loy Krathong is celebrated all over the country where floats made out of banana trees, bread, or Styrofoam are set off in the water.

The festival came into being as the act of making or donating khom loy, and Krathong is significant in Buddhist culture as it represents moving away from darkness and into the light.

Krathong is a Thai term that refers to a piece of banana trunk decorated with flowers, banana leaves, candles, and fragrant incense sticks.

A Krathong typically signifies a small floating container fashioned of leaves that are made to hold a small portion of goods like a traditional Thai dish (such as hor mok) or dessert; however, the traditional Krathong used for floating at the festival is made from a slice of a banana tree trunk or a spider lily plant.

The word Loy means to float in the Thai language. When put together, those two terms mean floating banana trunk festival. There are numerous stories about how the event came to be so renowned and intrinsically valued and appreciated.

Loy Krathong festival

One theory is that because Thailand is an agricultural country, Thai people have long been intimately linked with rivers.

This suggests that rivers are similar to blood veins.

Thus, Thai people opted to make a Krathong worship and pray for forgiveness in order to show respect to the river, namely the river goddess Pra Mae Khongkha.

Thais today regard it as a time to bid farewell to adversity, atone for past transgressions, and offer good wishes for the future year.

   Making a ‘krathong’ float on water

The four components of a Krathong are Buddhist symbols.

The candle represents knowledge and wisdom.

The joss stick represents purity and sympathy. The flower depicts the worship of Buddha’s pupils, the monks.


The worshipping object is utilized to mark respect for ancestors who have passed away. The celebrations are intended to give a little back to the water gods, to thank them for their bounty and generosity over the past year.

The flowery floats bob out into the water, carrying with them their owners’ wishes for love, fortune, and success.

To get rid of the negative items from the past, strands of hair, nail clippings, or even shreds of clothing that are no longer used are sometimes placed in a Krathong. Coins are added to Krathong, too, to bring fortune and make merit.

god ‘Pra Mae Khongkha’

When Loi Krathong is celebrated in conjunction with Yi Peng, fire lanterns are released so that the lights in the sky mirror the candlelit city canals below, radiating positivity and brilliance in both aspects. Thus, it signifies exuding happiness and splendor on both counts.

Gautam Buddha

Some believe Yee Peng began in India with the tradition of the candle-carrying bird who visited Gautam Buddha, preaching to him about merit.

Paying reverence to Buddha is viewed in Thailand as a means of being reincarnated into the next life with great reverence and purity.

In Chiang Mai, many different types of lanterns signifying serenity and gratitude can be seen around Chiang Mai: Khom Fai are paper lanterns that decorate homes and temples; khom tue are lanterns that are carried on a stick; khom pariwat are revolving lanterns placed on temples.

 Chiang Mai: Khom Fai

The festival’s innate history and gorgeous origins are essential aspects in making this festival may be the most beautiful and recognizable in the country of smiles. Also, since the Yee Peng is fundamentally about wishing and praying for luck in the coming year, in Thai culture, it is considered important to correctly release your Khom Loi.

If the fire does not go out and your lantern rises high up above the sky, it increases the chances of your wish coming true.

Khom Loi

Along with the lantern releases and wishing for good luck, the festival also provides an opportunity to have a good time with friends and family by allowing people to delve into a multitude of events such as worship rituals, decoration contests, bazaars, parades, international Thai dance shows, live music, and handicraft sessions.

There are also many beauty pageants contests, folk music performances, and light and sound shows as well in addition to the stunning floating lights.

A passer-by can often find a lot of food vendors setting up snack stalls and local vendors selling firecrackers.

Yee Peng festival

However, the mass lantern releases still steal the limelight though, allowing the whole city to get engulfed in the sparkling splendour of the spectacular lanterns portraying an embodiment of the things that one loves and desires the most in his life: tranquillity, peace, and radiance.

Thus, on the Yee Peng festival, light up an incense, make a wish, and release the Krathong on its journey, sending in a small prayer for good luck and prosperity!

Thai culture stunning floating lights

The stunning floating lights conjure up a truly captivating scene.

For more information click on this link:

author: Priya Bhushan editor: Akash R. Ekka

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