The Lantern Festival (Yi Peng)
Even if you have not heard of Yi Peng, or the Lantern Festival as it’s more commonly known, there’s a high possibility you have seen one of the stunning images of paper lanterns drifting into the night sky. It is one of the most picturesque events in Thailand, and the awe-inspiring celebrations are a must-see moment.
– People release sky lanterns to warship Buddha’s relics in Yi peng festival –
The event is held primarily in the North of Thailand and is a celebration of the full moon in the 12th month of the Thai Lunar calendar. Typically held in November, The Lantern Festival has a number of origins with the ancient Lanna Kingdom and sees thousands of lanterns released into the night sky, whilst local homes and public places will also display bright and colourful lanterns or flags.
Although the release of the lanterns is visually stunning, it also has a purpose. The idea of releasing the lanterns is a symbol of letting go of all of the ills and misfortunes from the previous year, allowing you to start the New Lunar Year in the best possible way. Many Buddhists also believe that if you make a wish as you release the lantern, it will come true if you complete acts of kindness in the coming year.
Events happen across the whole of Chiang Mai, and alongside the lantern releasing ceremony, there are dance shows, parades, live music, partying and even various stalls to help you learn arts and crafts. There’s also plenty of delicious food stalls to purchase food and drink from, whilst you can also expect regular firework celebrations every night around the festival!
Lantern release ceremonies occur all across Chiang Mai, but one of the biggest releases is held at Mae Jo University, which makes for a fantastic photo! Visitors can join in the celebrations and purchase their own lanterns, or Khom Loi as they’re better known, from many of the local shops and street vendors – although you should be quick as they can sell out very quickly.
Although, Yi Peng is widely celebrated, there’s a limitation to where you can participate since there are risks associated to the ceremony like flight risk and fire hazard. The organisers have to get a permit in order to sell/release Khom Loi.