Our arts & crafts day in Bangkok – Loy Krathong Festival

Bangkok, Thailand
Getting ready to do some arts & crafts! 

It was the night of the full moon in November and instead of partying on Haad Rin beach at the Full Moon Party, I was witnessing Scott do art and crafts in Bangkok! The full moon really does make people do strange things. Usually the only time I could get Scott to do something arts and crafty was if I so chose to do so on my birthday.
Bangkok, Thailand
Folding banana leaves to make a traditional krathong

We were making ourselves some handmade “krathongs” with the Suk 11 staff and some of the guests. What is a “krathong” you ask? Well, on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (which is usually around November) is the Loy Krathong festival. Many Thai’s will make and release a krathong into the river as a symbolic nature to letting go of all grudges, anger, and negative thoughts so they can start their life fresh on a better foot. Before releasing the krathong a candle and incense is lit to honour and praise the original buddha. Typically a krathong is handmade by the individual from a selection of natural materials. Usually, banana tree trunks as the float and intricate folded banana leaves and various flowers to decorate.

Bangkok, Thailand
Scott’s grand krathong of glory!

Suk 11 was spectacular and provided all the materials and advice we would need for free. Soon enough they had us all folding banana leaves like Thai professionals, even Scott! I’ll even admit during the few hours we spent pouring our souls into making our krathongs I sometimes felt jealous of Scott’s banana leaf folding. It really dawned on me of Scott’s new talents when we presented our finished pieces to each other. Scott’s was a a grand krathong of glory where I went more for the simpler approach. We both gave each other props and thought we should make sure they float in the hostel pond before we took them to the river.

Bangkok, Thailand
Both of ours, mine is on the left.

I stuck my little krathong into the pond and it floated with perfection. Not even a little heavy on one side. Scotts placed his glory carefully into the pond and this is when all his crafting self esteem came to a tragic downhill spiral. It toppled right over like a kayak. There was one of two problems. One side was too heavy or it was just too tall. Scott tried to pick his crafting self esteem up by doing a quick fix but once again it was to no use. It still sunk. Scott then quickly gave up, stated how he really sucks at this and this is why he doesn’t do arts and crafts.

Bangkok, Thailand
The not so full of glory redone krathong

I decided to step in and try and save the day and did some patch repair to his krathong. Low and behold after many attempts myself I got it to float, but it was no where near the glory capacity of it’s original form. Scott was happy he now had a floating krathong to release but was still upset since this new creation is not his original vision. I had to give him the helpful arts and crafts lingo that things your create are never what your originally visioned them to be, etc, etc. Nothing was working, to the point I don’t know if Scott will ever do arts and crafts again. Quick, time to escape the scene! We headed out for some beers and dinner to put all what happened behind us. I could see the grump inside Scott lift away with each sip and bite he took.

Bangkok, Thailand
The massive bottle neck of a line to release our krathongs!
We headed with everyone who spent the afternoon making the krathongs to the river where the main and biggest festivities was happening. It was packed!! So many people carrying krathongs, working on krathongs, selling krathongs to those that didn’t have time to make their own, or selling various other items. We soon came to the massive bottle neck of a line to get to the floating river barrage, filled with all walks of life and all of them pushing to get ahead in the line. Eventually we made it up and onto the floating barrage. The river was very choppy with so many boats going by and quite a hard wind. It was very hard to keep our candle lit and it was next to impossible to take and pictures! All that hard mental work to make Scott’s glorious krathong to float was pretty much a waste as the waves chopped over all the krathongs and no one mentioned the millions of large fish that come right away to eat the krathongs! The peaceful image I had of our little krathongs floating into the distance was long gone and now we had to deal with getting through the mass crowd and back to home.
Bangkok, Thailand
Getting blessed by the monk

On our way out of the festival grounds we knelled infront of a monk and he splashed some water on us for good luck onwards. Did any of these Buddhist ceremonial traditions work? Maybe… What I do know is this sounds like a way better thing to do to get redemption for yourself rather then throwing tons of money at a church. But that is just me.

Here’s some more pics of the festival!

Bangkok, Thailand
Everyone’s finished krathongs
Bangkok, Thailand
Scott looking happier after some beers!
Bangkok, Thailand
On the BTS skytrain heading to the river
Bangkok, Thailand
The fish eating everyones krathongs!
Bangkok, Thailand
Releasing a krathong into the river. (This is how rocky the river barrage was)
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