29 October 2006

Yi Peng

On Saturday while we were eating lunch at The Kitchen (turns out its name in Thaimeans something like "Kitchen Full of Delicious Food") our friend Eh showed up and told us about the Yi Peng festival happening that evening in Mae Jo, just north of town. We'd heard about it, but weren't sure when it happened, so we called up our friend LB, and headed out. Yi Peng means "second moon" in Northern Thai Dialect, meaning that the festival happens on the second month of the Thai lunar year. Or the third. Or the twelfth. I haven't found a reliable source yet. It is the Lanna variant of Loi Krathong, the Thai festival of lights, and involves letting loose thousands of lantern balloons after a day of making merit with the Lord Buddha.

Here the gals fill their balloon.

And here they get ready to release it.

And off it goes.

In the background is a group of monks in orange robes getting ready to release their balloons.

Like I said, thousands.

And here's a short, crumby video, of course.

The next day after church we went to Wat Umong to see what the Monk Chat was like. For two hours each Sunday a British monk makes himself available for two hours for people to come and ask him questions. He seemed nice, and sincere, and had some good answers to some pretty dumb questions. There is an abundance of cheap Buddhism here in Thailand. The visit was LB's idea, and she was pretty disappointed. She made a good point about people who grow up with no religious community around them, so they end up searching for anything, and when they find something they don't know when to keep their mouth shut about their personal business.

So we went and looked at the fish pond instead. I was expecting a pond full of carp, but instead it was full of huge plecostomus and catfish, which people were feeding bread and food pellets.

Plecostomus are algae-eaters, and their mouths aren't adapted to surface feeding. So they make weird behavioral adaptations to compensate, like swimming backwards while pointing up, hoping a pellet will get pulled into their mouth, or pinning a piece of bread to the wall and sucking on it.

Meanwhile, the catfish seem to have no trouble with their huge vacuum cleaner mouths. Almost makes you want to stick your hand in there.


  1. Sorry to beat you guys. I didn't mean to do that. :-) But really had great time that night. Hope you two have more good time in Chiang Mai. Let's have dinner some time soon.

  2. I forgot to tell you that your xanga profile picture looks really nice. Is it one of your artworks? But, hey, it doesn't look like your style. ^_^

  3. It's a winged elephant in goldleaf and lacquer from a wat in Lampang. I just Photoshopped it a bit

  4. It must have been breath taking to
    see the night sky glowing with
    thousands of lantern balloons.
    Looking forward to another update.

    Mom B.

  5. It sure was! Glad to see you're leaving comments. Dane thinks you're tech savvy enough now to start your own blog!