Thailand - Lantern Festival
The gorgeous pictures of the Lantern Festival in Thailand was one of the top things I was most excited to experience. Ever since seeing this scene in the movie Tangled, I was intrigued by the magical idea of a sky full of floating lanterns and couldn't wait to be a part of something so beautiful.
The Thailand Floating Lantern Festival is called Yi Peng (or Yee Peng) and is celebrated once a year on the full moon in the second month of the Lanna lunar calendar (Usually November). The most elaborate celebrations in Thailand are in Chaing Mai and coincide with Loy Krathong which is another festival with floating boats in the river. The city also celebrates these festivals with colorful lantern decorations all around the town.
This year during our visit, the launch was in the main city square. (Mae Jo University has been known to do their own separate launch in past years, but it was canceled this year). There was a bridge that connected to the main square that was packed with tourists and locals taking their turn releasing thousands of hot air, rice paper lanterns into the sky with a wish. It was beautiful and magical and lasted for hours with a non-stop flow of glittering lights into the night sky. The crowds were fun and festive, if not a little chaotic, with people shooting fireworks every direction, unlucky lanterns that caught fire diving back down into the crowds of people, ambulances and motorcycles trying to drive through the crowds on the bridge and people cheering and celebrating when their lanterns missed the power lines and trees that were surrounding the launch site. The craziness only added to the fun experience and it was awesome seeing so many people from all over the world enjoying the beauty together.
Looking for a similar experience in the US? Check out the Rise Festival in Mojave, NV and Phoenix, AZ for an equally breathtaking floating lantern experience!
Pictures from our Thailand Lantern Festival Experience In Chiang Mai: