It’s almost time to celebrate Loy Krathong in Thailand! Are you as excited as we are?
As much as I wish that we could be in Chiang Mai to celebrate again this year, we’re not :) So how about doing the next best thing and reliving the fun from last year? We’ve already given you a little overview of the festivities of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng. Now we’ll show you how we made our pretty little krathong from scratch and watched it float away down the Ping River!
We started off by taking a careful look at the krathongs up for sale in the markets. The base of these floating vessels was either a round of Styrofoam, or a more biodegradable slice of a banana tree stalk. The porous bases were then covered by banana leaves, and flowers were artfully arranged on top. Peeking out of the center of each krathong were a few sticks of incense.
The krathongs for sale varied from elaborate offerings with rows of tightly-coiled banana leaf fans to tastefully simple ones featuring a few orchids and a lotus blossom.
After seeing how they were made, hubby and I started gathering the supplies to make our own… He inspected every single banana stalk base you see in the picture below to find the most perfect, most round, most float-able base possible, while I spent my time searching around for the prettiest combination of flowers I could find. Then we grabbed a package of banana leaves, a group of incense sticks, and some pins to secure everything together. Once we made it back to the hotel, we grabbed the morning newspaper and got to work!
Our first step was to cover the banana stalk base with the banana leaves so that it didn’t become water logged once set afloat.
Because we knew we wanted a central lotus blossom, we then built a little stalk for it out of banana leaves, and secured that in place in the middle of the base. To form a container for the rest of the flowers, we fashioned a little rim out of banana leaf ribbons. By pinning one row of ribbons to face the inside of the vessel and a second row to face the outside, the rim was fairly sturdy and could handle quite a few flowers.
Then it was just a matter of layering our chosen flowers in the krathong. We started with a row of pretty white mums, then separated these from the lotus blossom with a layer of beautiful purple Dendrobium orchids. A few purple puff flowers added color around the base, and some pandan leaves gave a little flair to the top of the arrangement.
Then we sat back and admired our pretty flower-topped floating vessel. It might not have been as perfectly coiffed as the ones for sale in the markets, but it was ours, and we were pretty proud of our handiwork!
I was done at that point, but hubby, being the engineer that he is, insisted on a “float test” in the hotel bathtub. Luckily our krathong passed with flying colors and was ready for action later that night!
Once the sun had set, we joined the throngs of people that had gathered by the Ping River, setting off fireworks, lighting khom loi lanterns, and floating their krathongs. We stepped out onto one of the floating bamboo docks, lit the incense candles, and set our little hand-crafted krathong on its way. We followed it for as far as our eyes could see as it floated away into the shimmering distance, never once toppling or losing its flame…