Why Such a Fascination for Sky Lanterns (Khom Loi)?

Thais releasing a Khom Loi

Thais releasing a Khom Loi (Joe Grez/Sesame)

Pai, Thailand – I have a dilemma. It has to do with the Chinese and Thai traditions of releasing hot air rice paper lanterns (Kongming [Chinese], Khom Loi [Thai]) into the night sky. Happens quite often in the north of the country now, with numerous lanterns coloring the black, faint white polka doted sky with moving golden orange pixels of various sizes. The first site of it is rather striking and as more people release lanterns into the sky, the night becomes that much more entrancing. So what’s my problem with this?

Vegetarian Festival 10-2012 Phuket, Thailand

Acrobat troupe recreate slaying of the dragon (sesame/joup)

Acrobat troupe recreate slaying of the dragon (sesame/joup)

Phuket, Thailand – Firewalkers, facial piercings, fireworks and acrobats. How could one know that being a vegetarian could be so exciting? At least the Chinese-Thais in Phuket make it so during their annual Vegetarian Festival in the ninth month of their calendar year. This year of the dragon provided no disappointments in the festival either. The fest takes place the second to third week in October with the dates in this Roman Calendar year being 10th-23rd. Arriving in Phuket for the last five days and six nights provided insight into the ritual, photo ops to drool over, memories to last a lifetime and the desire to come back for more.

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