Following on from last months blog, once again, at The Lighting Design Studio we are feeling inspired after our recent visit to the Loi Krathong (Yeepeng) festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This truly magical festival of light takes place during the full moon of the 12th traditional Thai calendar month (normally in November), and is an experience we feel should be on everyone’s bucket list. Loy or Loi means ‘to float’ and a Krathong is a lotus shaped raft which can float on water, traditionally made from banana leaves elaborately decorated with flowers, candles and incense sticks.
During the night of the full moon, millions of Thai people up and down the country will gather around rivers, canals and lakes to float Karthong’s – a custom that’s been going on for hundreds of years in honor of the goddess of water, Mae Khongkha. This mesmerising practice also symbolises the letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Most Thai people believe floating a raft brings good luck (many add coins, hair, and even fingernails as offerings), and they watch on as their grief, misery, and ill fortunes, float off into the distance
In Chiang Mai, the releasing of lanterns is also popular. On the night of the full moon, hundreds of thousands of lanterns fill the sky. As you can see from our pictures (which can never do it justice), it is a truly awe-inspiring sight.
As lighting designers, the experience was completely spell-binding and got us thinking about the many different customs across the globe celebrating the importance of light – Loy Krathong (Thailand), Hanukkah, St. Lucia Day (Sweden), Diwali, St.Martins Day (Holland), Bonfire night, Chaharshanbe Suri – and even Christmas, to a certain extent. We believe that light shouldn’t just play the lead role during our celebrations and festivals. It should take centre stage in our everyday lives. All too often – when designing, building or decorating our homes, schools, hospitals, train stations, offices, etc – we do not give it enough importance. Our aim is to change this, one project at a time. To hear more about our Thailand adventure, or to see how we can help you get inspired with great lighting ideas, feel free to get in touch.