- Last Updated on 04 January 2013
- By Thanapol Chadchaidee
Original story by Thanapol Chadchaidee
Yee Peng is Treaditional annual festival held to celebrate the full moon of the 12 th lunar month in the Buddhist calendar, in the city of Chiang Mai.It is held on the day preceding Loy Krathong by one day in November. The word "Yee Peng" is the northern Thai term referring to the full moon of the 12 th lunar month in the Buddhist calendar.
The festival is celebrated as a religious event in which local people throughout the region make merit and other religious activities. The highlight of the event focuses on the lunching of the Khom loy or floating lanterns info the night sky with the belief that misfortune will fly away with the lanterns. It is their belief, if the lanterns are made and offered is said to symbolize knowledge and the light it gives will guide them to the right path of their lives.
Meanwhile,"Khom loy" is a Thai word signifying the floating lantern which is a large balloon - like made from a light bamboo frame covered with saa(mulberry bark) paper. It floats by means of hot air heated by a flaming torch fixed in the balloon. So can be seen at night for miles.
During the event, both day and night local people and monks are closely involved with the Khom making process. The temple compound is the traditional venue for the launching of the Khom. The best place to participate in the event is in the "Majo Area" where thousands of Khomloy will be set afloat after dark in a wonderful display of lights. It is so popular that at the height of the event the flight training of the Royal Thai Air Force has to be suspended until all the Khom Loy have dispersed while all commercial air traffic at the airport has been warned to exercise extreme caution as the climbing lanterns could pose a danger to the jet turbines.
To celebrate the auspicious event, companies and private individuals make merit by creating and releasing balloons to dispel bad luck and seek good fortune. If their balloons rise high and travel far, this indicates prosperity. It has been said that this kind of hot air balloon could rise to heights of up to 1,250 metres and travel even as far as Hat Yai District of the southern province of Songkhla.
Another spectacular parade is held at the Thapae Gate area where local and foreign visitors can see floats, marchers and beautiful Yee Peng beauty queens. As the night falls, the spectators will be excited to see the long strings of Khom loy rise gently into the limitless sky as they stimulate the participants' spirits to rise higher to the heaven. This brings joy and happiness to the merit-makers since their belief thattheir ill-fortunes have been floated away.