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10/26/2016
Celebrating… the Yi Peng Festival
Celebrating… the Yi Peng Festival

Usually taking place in the shorter months, the world's many festivals of light are a beautiful way to celebrate brightness and bring a little warmth into revellers' hearts. These goals are just as important in Thailand's Yi Peng Festival, which takes place in Chiang Mai on the second month of the Lanna calendar. In 2016 it will occur between the 14th and 15th of November.

A feast of light and warmth, this special event has a lot to offer visitors – here is why you should attend.

Ceremonial beginnings
The Yi Peng Festival is almost exclusively a northern Thai event, taking place within the historic Lanna Kingdom that existed between the late 13th century and 1557. The capital of this kingdom was the city of Chiang Mai, where the festival is held today.

This ancient celebration has its roots in the Buddhist tradition of doing good and respecting the Buddha. The monks and the public all conduct good deeds and give donations to others to spread and feel good, and during ceremonies offerings and prayers are made in order to encourage good luck.

Prayers are written on the side of large lanterns that are set loose into the sky all at the same time. As they float up into the heavens, the prayers take on a spiritual form, and as they disappear from view, the lanterns represent misfortune drifting away into insignificance - all while providing an amazing visual spectacle.

Mae Ping River

Yi and Loi
The Yi Peng Festival usually coincides with another local festival – Loi Krathong, taking place on the 14th and 15th of November 2016.

This multi-religious celebration, observed on the evening of the full moon of the Thai lunar calendar's 12th month, is equally as dazzling, featuring floating lanterns and light-filled boats called krathongs that aim to thank both Phra Mae Khongkha, the Hindu goddess of water, and the Buddha.

People cut their hair and nails and add them to the krathongs, signifying the release of the body and mind's negative aspects, a tradition followed by millions throughout Thailand.

A city alight
While you can certainly see both festivals in various areas of the country, the best place to do so is in Chiang Mai where many people flock to, thanks to the city's role in the history of the festival and the country as a whole.

The city truly comes alive during the mid-November festivities. As well as krathong and lantern-releasing events taking place throughout the city, at the nearby university, Chiang Mai Municipal Building and Srikhong Temple, you will find percussion competitions, home decoration contests, beauty pageants, processions, parties, fireworks displays and more.

All across the city people come together to conduct and observe Buddhist and Hindu rituals in an immensely bright and colourful setting – down every street and lane, lanterns of all shapes, shades and sizes are hung.

If you would like to combine these two amazing festivals with a trip to beautiful and exciting Thailand, stay at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok. A perfect base from which to explore the rest of the country, our staff are on hand to help you book any excursions you would like to go on – please contact us for more information.

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