Yi Peng is a magical festival held once a year in Thailand. It’s celebrated at the time of Loy Kathrong where people send floating lanterns down the river in little boats. This all takes place at the first full moon of the 12th lunar month. Hundreds of glowing sky lanterns are launched into the night sky like little hot air balloons. The celebration is meant to bring good luck. Symbolically, it’s like sending your worries and problems floating away with the lanterns both as an individual and the community
People also decorate their houses with intricately shaped paper lanterns for Yi Peng. During the festival, the entire city of Chiang Mai, its houses, streets, canals, moats and the river are decorated with lights and beautiful lanterns, making these festivities, a most beautiful and memorable experience for visitors. Interestingly, these lanterns are thought to have been invented in China at the turn of the 3rd century and were used as military beacons. Then later they become popular for other uses like festivals.
The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom, where now both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are celebrated at the same time resulting in lights floating on the waters, lights hanging from trees/buildings or standing on walls, and lights floating by in the sky. Fireworks also add to the magic in the sky in a celebration of colour and light.
People have described the atmosphere as euphoric, charged with excitement and a time of spiritual healing and forgiveness. The whole community gets together to celebrate and eat and drink together. It all contributes to making this a magical time that will bring out in the inner child in you. Definitely something to do on my bucket list!