Dave in Thailand
Loy Gratong Nov. 26 2004

Loy Gratong is one of the most beautiful of Thai Festivals. The words literally mean "Float a boat" - but a special boat, one made of banana leaf wrapped around a chunk of banana tree (we won't even talk about the wonderful modern styrofoam concoctions) with a candle, three joss sticks and a flower or two of some type (and sometimes a coin or two). It's a festive day, and everyone prepares and the girls get their pretty traditional costumes on - and some of the men too. The Gratong is traditionally put into a small river or canal near your home, under the full moon of the 11th month. First you say a small prayer, wherein you give thanks to the River Spirits and ask for forgiveness for your sins and peace and prosperity in the coming year, and anything else you like, and then you set the Gratong into the water and let it float away, with a little push - the further it goes without tipping, the more likely your prayers are to be answered (or so the belief goes). It is very beautiful to see the many small gratongs floating away, bobbing along, candles lit, the incense smoke in the air, under the full moon.

Let's start with a painting of a traditional Loy Gratong (info about painting here), to give you the general idea.... traditional loy gratong painting

Things rarely look in real life as they do in pictures however - but we do ok here! First there is the parade - and this year it didn't get rained on, which was nice for everyone.... parade

...more parade ... parade

restaurant queen beautiful indeed....

white queen

restaurant queen ,,, and the blue queen ....

dancing costume Some of the beautiful costumes of the traditional dancers....

dancing costumes (with dancers in them)

Well - lots of walking to see the parade and and some of the activities and build up an appetite - but it's Thailand, so never fear - lots of food nearby!
food food food

Well - about time to get on with what we're here for. But before you can float your gratong, you gotta have one to float. Traditionally people make their own, but nowadays there are many, many others making very beautiful ones that they sell (pretty cheaply, too - and the smiles, as always in Thailand, are free and plentiful!).

two girls selling gratongs making gratongs

two girls selling gratongs making gratongs

two girls making gratongs 3 ladies making gratongs

Well - enough shopping - and it's dark, and the moon will be up soon - time to make a selection.... dave and ann buy the gratong

Off to the pond - the kids get to do their thing first - they're so beautiful to watch ....

kids floating their gratongs kids floating their gratongs kids floating their gratongs

A contest of course for the biggest and best....

the big crane
decorating a big gratong

And at last - it's our turn - a small pond, but a big wish .....

And lots of other wishes ....

So - a very brief look at some of the Loy Gratong happenings around PSU. For some more information and pictures of Loy Gratong happenings in other parts of the country, you can try the following:

Loy Gratong
The Loy Krathong Festival
The First Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand

Other Dave in Thailand stuff:

Wien Tien
PSU AG Fair 2004
Loy Gratong at PSU 2004
Kuching 2004
Luang Prabang page 1, page 2, page 3,

these pages are mostly sort of a photo album for some friends and family, but if you have stumbled across one of them somehow on the net and want to contact me, you can reach me at siamdave at yahoo dot ca