One of the most beautiful things about traveling the world is the exploration of various cultures, the festivals people celebrate, and the tradition they follow. Religious festivals are a few unique experiences to have in another nation and can be a great reason to visit a new land. The Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand celebrated in Chiang Mai is one such kind of festival that is worth attending. Here are some of the interesting facts about the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. This festival is not just incredibly beautiful but is loaded with a different meaning for everyone who participates, regardless of their personal belief and religion.
What is the Yi Peng lantern festival?
In Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong is headed by Yi Peng. In this festival, people release floating lanterns in the sky. It is during Yi Peng that you see public places and local’s homes decorated in colorful hanging lanterns and flag decorations. This act of releasing the lantern and Krathong symbolizes allowing go of all the misfortunes in the last year. Buddhists believe that if you make a wish while releasing the lantern, it will become a reality.
As a part of this festival of light, there are a lot of activities that take place all over Chiang Mai. These include traditional Thai dance shows, the official “Yi Peng Parade” around this Old City gate and down Tha Phae Road, handicraft sessions, and live music. You can see a lot of food vendors on the street, selling fireworks, firecrackers, and a group of tourists walking around with selfie sticks.
The reason behind celebrating Yi Peng Lantern Festival
In Thai tradition, the Yi Peng lantern festival is celebrated to release negative energy and wish for good fortune in the upcoming year. This festival is also a way to pay tribute to Buddha and the legend Yi Peng has been traced back to the story that a candle-carrying flew around Buddha once to pay his respect.
Interesting Facts about Yi Peng Lantern Festival
Yi Peng Lantern Festival is the Traditional Festival that you have seen in films
Have you seen Disney Tangled in which they release the lantern into the sky? That comes from the idea of the Thailand lantern festival. There are many other lantern festivals too, like Loy Krathong, in which lanterns are released onto the water instead of air. The pictures of Yi Peng are transcendental, while its personal meaning, is unsurpassed by any other celebration in a year.
The Yi Peng lantern festival is celebrated in Northern Thailand
The Thailand Lantern Festival- or Yi Pen- is celebrated mainly in Northern Thailand, mainly in Chiang Mai. In this festival, every participant must release the lantern into the air in the evening after music, prayer, or other celebrity entertainment. Thousands of lanterns rise simultaneously, lifting at different speeds, introducing different levels of brightness to the night sky. Most of the areas where the sky lanterns are released- including the release at Maejo University are too crowded.
Yi Peng lantern festival has its roots in Buddhism and is considered as a religious festival
The Yi Peng celebration is rooted in Buddhism. In fact, most of the people believe that this festival originated in India and is inspired by the star of the candle-carrying bird that visited Buddha to speak about the merit.
The paper lanterns used in the ceremony are known as Khom Loi
The beautiful paper lanterns, which are released into the air every year in November, are known as Khom Loi or Khom Fai. Khom Lai is made of thin material like rice paper with a candle or fire starter attached. The fire generates hot air that is confined inside the lantern, which accounts for the lightweight sky lantern’s lift. As the lantern goes up in the sky, the fire produces energy that helps it to drift in various directions as it goes up in the sky.
Can tourists attend the Yi Peng Lantern Festival?
One of the main reasons why people want to visit the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is to launch their own lanterns and take a photo of so many people releasing lanterns. Is it only for locals? However, one of the interesting facts about the Yi Peng lantern festival is it is exclusively meant for locals, around Mae Jo University. If you want to visit the place as a non-local, then you must buy tickets worth THB 5,600~12,500, which is almost USD 170~380! There can be times when you might not get tickets even after spending so much money.
Yi Peng lantern festival for tourists!
No worries, as there are few private Yi Peng events that tourists can attend, and they are much cheaper compared to the Mae Jo event. Basically, they are as same as the Mae Jo built on a small scale, nearly half the size of the Mae Jo event. They are spectacular in their own way and are great for individuals who cannot afford to pay a minimum of USD 170 for buying the ticket.
At these private Yi Peng events, you can release your own lantern in the sky. The experience would not be the same if you do not get the chance to launch your own lantern.
As it is one of the most popular events in Chiang Mai, it is better to plan as early as you can. Undoubtedly, the tickets get sold out quickly. If you are sure that you can attend the event, better buy your tickets fast!
The floating lantern festival in Thailand is a time to “Make Merit”
The history books of Thailand tell us that during the time of the twelfth full moon is when the moon will appear full and bright. This makes it the perfect time to make the merit or a wish for good luck in the New Year.
Releasing the lanterns signifies releasing all your bad luck and sorrows into oblivion. If your lantern vanishes into the darkness before the candle burns out, it is believed that you will have good luck. On the other hand, if it crashes midway while the candle is lit, you may have bad luck throughout the year.
Yi Peng and Loy Krathong are 2 different festivals
One of the interesting facts about the Yi Peng lantern festival is it is different from the Loy Krathong festival. These two festivals are often confused with each other as they are celebrated almost the same time. Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated across Thailand on a full moon evening. It is celebrated in the twelfth month of the traditional Thai lunar calendar. It is celebrated by putting floating baskets made of leaves, flowers, incense sticks, and candles down to the river. It is celebrated to pay respect to the Buddha and the river goddess.
In northern Thailand and Chiang Mai, Loy Krathong coincides with Yi Peng which is also celebrated on the full moon day in the second month of the lunar calendar. As the dates of both the festivals are based on the Thai lunar calendar, the actual dates of the Loy Krathong and Chiang Mai lantern festival change every time. Generally, they fall around November every year, but the actual dates are announced just two months before.
These are some of the interesting facts about the Yi Peng lantern festival that you must be aware of.