Sunday 25 November 2007

Loy Kratong

Loy Kratong was celebrated last night. This festival occurs on the full moon of the 12th lunar month…and what a spectacular full moon it was! Most years the rain can wash out the festival (being rainy season) but we’ve had clear skies for a few days now and the golden orb did not disappoint.

Loy Kratong is a festival that pays homage and gives thanks to the Water Goddess, as well as asking forgiveness for polluting her waterways (which is perhaps the reason I just love this festival..and all the pretty lights). People take the opportunity to pray for their family and it is done with exceptional reverence. People generally release the kratong (a slice of banana trunk elaborately decorated with folded banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks, a candle, some hair and nail clippings!) into any body of water, be that the ocean, a lake or a stream. Our local temple is on the banks of a large stream so that’s where the masses converged last night. When hundreds of kratong are released and flowing downstream, the gorgeousity is overwhelming and visually stunning.

The famous legend of Loy Kratong is that if 2 lovers set a kratong adrift and it continues floating down stream (not flipping and sinking) and out of sight, their love will last forever. Looks like I'm stuck with J for eternity then!

After floating the kratong we went inside the temple grounds for the wild and crazy show. Well, if you call countless groups of little girls (with the odd boy thrown in there) dressed like 80s Madonnas (including the boys!), dancing on stage like they're 20 years older and require a poll, then I guess you would find it wild. Whatever happened to traditional Thai dancing at these shows. Fair enough they had a group of oldies doing some manora dancing that was beautiful, but that was it! Call me old fashioned but I found it a bit sad that all the kids are being taught these "sexy" moves and not learning or showing any traditional dance (that is ageless!). In just over an hour I believe they had about 10 groups of kids doing "modern" dance and karaoke! Each group had 2 songs to perform...oh dear!

Something I find simultaneously confusing, amusing and disturbing and have seen numerous times is little tiny fellers (I'm talking 6 years oldish) who already act lady boyzish. It's just such a phenomenon in Thailand. I said funny cos sometimes the dancing is rather amusing when they are so enthusiastic! I can't tell you the amount of school boys that come to use the internet and are wearing makeup and lipstick and talk and walk effeminately. I think it's fabulous how accepting as a society Thais are (because if that happened in Oz they would get in some serious fisticuffs and teased relentlessly) but here it is such an accepted thing. It's still pretty full on to witness the anomaly at such a young age however. At last year's Loy kratong festival there was a group of 4 teenage boys (under 15) dressed as women in gold hot pants, fish nets, boob tubes and high heels, complete with long hair wigs, dancing so provocatively that I was just in...awe. There was really no word for it. It was so disturbing to see it but yet I couldn't take my eyes off them because I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. I'm talking MEGA sexarama, like raunchy stripper type's something that you really don't expect to see at a family outing in front of hundreds of little kids and the elderly! Or in a village in whoop whoop for that matter! By the looks on people's faces I think most people were stunned into silence. That was honestly the most bizarre thing I've ever seen since being here! Anyhoo...

Was a fab night and so good to get outside for a change...we didn't stick around for the beauty contest this year cos I found it rather freakish last out of place and the plastic uncomfortable smiles with bouffant hair! So apart from the stage show, the whole loy kratonging thang makes for a super spesh night out.

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