Everything is Magic

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.

12 Comments

  1. It does sound like a lovely experience. As a Westerner stuck in the UK for now, I am a little envious.

    Your son Cole looks like he is really getting a lot out of the experience, as children always do.

    Thankyou for sharing the story and your photos, they brightened up my somewhat cold and not quite as magical morning here in England.

  2. The pictures are as gorgeous as they are always.

    Talking of Cole, I miss the series “where is Cole”. It was such an insight to see how difficult/easy is life with or without a kid. Now that another one is on his/her way, my request is to continue with that kid series. You can also write about the difficulties/dilemmas faced during pregnancy.

    • That’s a good idea. I might start it up with the new baby, but originally I stopped with Cole because he was getting old enough to not want his picture taken and I didn’t want to make it an ongoing thing where I HAD to take a picture of him… But that first year is great for that, thanks for the idea. I should do it, then I’ll have one for each baby. 🙂

  3. Beautiful post! I miss the lanterns floating and the magic they bring. There’s a lightness to it, and they really do release some thing magical into the air and give a renewed feeling.

    It’s amazing to think of Cole talking and excitedly talking about Thai lanterns. I love the moments you captured with him and Drew above.

    I hope I can see you guys in Mexico – Hugs!

  4. Been following your blog for quite some time. Love what you guys are doing:) and how you involve your kid in this all:) I have been trying to get my girlfriend into doing something similar for long time but she isnt really ad adventurous as me in this regard he he. I run some small niche website over here in Iceland for the northern lights http://www.northernlightsiceland.com/ Hope you will take your kid to Iceland one day and show him the northern lights, a bit different phenomena than the beautiful act of lighting up a lantern 😉

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