Thursday, 31 July 2008

Khoom Fay: Thai hot air lanterns - What's that all about?

We have a curious relationship with these paper hot air balloons. We usually have some in Reception, but otherwise buy them in bulk from a small shop in Maenam, but they're also available in the village. A Taiwanese guest once told me that they were invented thousands of years ago in China, as a means of signaling from one village to the next. Here they're lit for the spectacle, especially at Loy Kratong and New Year.

I can't recall how we came to start writing messages on the balloons to our dead relatives and friends, but it's not something we would have dreamed up for ourselves. I think the practice might be routed in the animist tradition of ancestor worship, otherwise manifested in daily Thai life through the Spirit Houses that are evident outside many Thai homes and businesses (see next entry) including Baan Bophut.

However it started, it's become something of a family tradition to remember departed relatives and friends. It's good to make time to remember happy times with those to whom we were close and it doesn't do any harm - so long as they're kept away from the thatched roof of the bar.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Jonny, Baan Bophut has acquired 1000 fire lanterns/balloons and they are now on sale at Baan Bophut for 150 Baht each.


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