My oh my. What a festival — a celebration of honoring Buddha and letting go of your hatred, anger, and negative thoughts on the full moon of every November, which fell on the 17th of this year.
My work college, Ajan Phao, invited me to join him and his family in the festivities. First, we went to the Gulf of Thailand to let a lantern fly high. Supposedly, this was a very “quiet” year of celebration because the king of the monks (kind of the equivalent to The Pope) died a month ago, so everything has been very subdued in Thailand out of respect for him.
Standing on the cool, soft sand in the light of the full moon, a few, erratic fireworks went off in the background while the paper lantern filled with heat. The four of us held onto it, getting ready to send it off to the stars.
Next, we went back into the city to muscle our way into a space along Phetchaburi River where we could set sail our krathongs.
The krathongs are vessels on which to send your worries away. Usually made from banana trees and leaves, decorated with colorful flowers, incense and candles, they ceremoniously float down a river, or out into a lake or the ocean, disappearing from sight and taking with it your trepidations and trespasses.
My new friend, Katie, helped me to build one for myself and Ajan Phao’s family.
It was all so overwhelming that I could do nothing more than observe instead of making wishes. Later, as I rode home in silence with Ajan Phao and his family, I sent out a prayer to keep my family and friends safe.