This is our third year in Thailand for Loi Krathong.  We’ve celebrated this Thai holiday more regularly than Thanksgiving (we skipped this year) or Christmas (we haven’t exchanged gifts since we started traveling) — that’s not entirely intentional, but perhaps it does say something about us.

I love the lantern releases, but what keeps me coming back are those evenings when we drive around on the motorbike, with Cole on my lap, and head over to the Ping River to watch everyone celebrate.  The Thais head down to the river bank, light the candle in the center of their Krathong, press their hands together in a “wai” as they make a wish.  It’s simple and beautiful and by the end of the night, the dark river is lit with hundreds of points of light, as the woven bamboo and orchids slowly drift away.

I guess it’s something of a westerner’s culture to be impressed by Buddhism, it seems so solemn and spiritual, we glom onto it like moths to a flame.  I know that being a Buddhist involves a lot more than an annual celebration and pretty lanterns, but I still like watching it every year.  It makes me feel like there’s a little bit magical in the world.

My new favorite part of the celebration is to light a lantern and watch Cole’s reaction as it fills with hot air and slowly floats away.  This year we lit four, one for each of us (including the baby who is coming this winter).

Cole is talking enough now that we discussed the lanterns for two days afterwards, he was so impressed.  We reenacted them floating away and saying good-bye.  He pointed them out everywhere we went.

It took us a bit to convince him that his job wasn’t to blow out the flame, although to be honest, he was total crap at it, and if this was his birthday he’s get exactly zero wishes.

Impressing your kids is hands down the best feeling.  I wish I could be half as excited as he is on any given day.

And then they float away.