People light a sky lantern, or khom loy, to release along the Ping River during the Chiang Mai Yee Peng and Loy Krathong Festivals on Nov. 3, 2017, in northern Thailand. RNS photo by Kit Doyle

Buddhist light festival shoos away bad luck in northern Thailand

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (RNS) — Every year, full-moon festivals are held at locations across Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

Yee Peng, or Two Full Moons festival, is one of them, and its celebration in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai features a variety of lights and lanterns: hanging, spinning and floating.

While the krathong, the decorated baskets that are floated down the river, are intended to symbolize the sending away of bad luck through Buddhist beliefs, many Thai people also consider it an offering to the river goddess, harking back to previous Brahmanic beliefs.

Many people in Chiang Mai host private ceremonies at their homes during the festival. There are also beauty contests, a large parade and performances that attract throngs of tourists from abroad.