This was the second year I was lucky enough to be in Thailand during its annual Loi Krathong festivities. There were some differences this year: last time, I watched hundreds of lanterns being launched into the air, just outside of Chiang Mai, along with my friend Greg. It was absolutely stunning beyond words (albeit a tad awful for the environment).
This year, I was in the Isaan region, in the small mountain village of Phu Ruea, and instead caught the procession of river lanterns. The ceremony was no less visually captivating. The idea is that you place all of your worries and fears into the krathongs (lanterns), and then float them away, leaving you with a clean slate for the year to come.
Differences aside, there is one key similarity you witness, no matter where in Thailand you find yourself at this time of year. I can sum it up in one emotion: awe.
It’s no wonder, really. With such beauty unfolding before your eyes, it’s difficult not to be amazed. A look of pure and unabashed awe paints the face of every person in sight — adults and children alike. It just goes to show what the Loi Krathong festival means to the people of Thailand, and I couldn’t resist capturing some of this heartwarming purity of emotion.
See the expressions of awe for yourself, and tell me you can’t feel a little of what they feel.