Evening Temple, Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival

One of the most memorable events I attended was attending Wat Lang or evening temple and Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong Festival at our local temple Wat Greensboro. I used to think that Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival were the same event, and that Lai Heur Fai Nam is a festival celebrated in Laos and Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated in Thailand. The event is similar but definitely not the same. Lai Heur Fai Nam is celebrated in Laos, and takes place right after Ok Punsa or the End of Buddhist Lent, which is in October and Loy Krathong is celebrated in Thailand, and takes place during the full moon of the twelfth lunar month and this year started on November 7th. Our local temple held a Loy Krathong event early since it was expected to be too cold in November.  The event was held on a Saturday October 18th, and since it fell right after Ok Punsa I considered this to be a Lai Heur Fai Nam event.

I got up early that Saturday morning to make my own Heur Fai Nam or Krathong, and got most of the items from my garden.

I used to make the Krathong when I was little living in Thailand, but that’s been a while back and thank goodness there’s Youtube videos of how to make the Krathong.

My first one didn’t look too bad, I had the white candle but didn’t have the incense sticks at home.

This one I made for Lee, and I had made 4 Krathongs total.

This was our first time attending Wat Lang or evening temple. The atmosphere was different, being on the temple ground at night ghost was definitely on my mind but no luck and no ghost encounter, so no ghost story to share with you all.

I was busy with taking pictures that Bo took care of the Krathong for me. I don’t think he realized the meaning of Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong. As I had mentioned in my previous Loy Krathong post that when I was little living in Thailand, I was told that Loy Krathong is a traditional Thai way of life.  It is widely believed that these are offerings made to Mae Khongkha (mother of waters) either to please her in an expression of gratitude for providing life-sustaining water throughout the year, and to ask her for forgiveness for man’s carelessness in polluting the water that nourishes all life. Many also believe that by setting adrift the krathong, one symbolically casts away one’s grief, misery, and ill fortunes. Coins are also placed in the krathong as offerings. As for the romantic at heart and young couples, Loy Krathong is the time to make wishes for happiness together and success in love.

I didn’t get a chance to cast away my grief, misery, and ill fortunes but deep down inside I knew it floated away with my Heur Fai Nam.

I’m glad our temple held Loy Krathong event this year, and hope that I will get a chance to attend the event in Laos or Thailand someday.

Songkran Festival 2014 at Wat Greensboro

We celebrated a Southeast Asian New Year at our local temple Wat Greensboro on Sunday April 13, 2014. We had a good turnout and the weather was exceptionally nice, it was in the 80s. Songkran is one of the biggest events at our temple. It is the time of the year for a new beginning, and for some of us it is the time to wash away the rust that has been clinging to our hearts and souls, learning to let go of the past and to start fresh with the new beginning. I am the temple photographer and do love the colorful and rich culture of the event.

Some photos were converted to black and white due to the orange cover above making everyone’s faces looking orange.

People brought in foods to offer to monks, we only had three monks holding the service so there were plenty of foods for all of us.

For the love of photography you can’t have enough photography gear. P’Odd carries this many gears on a regular basis, perhaps this might be on his light side.

The photo below was taken by P’Odd. It was nice of him to offer to take a picture of me pouring water on the monk’s hand.

We songk nom pra or pour water over monk’s hands for blessing.

This young man asked the monk to bless his tattoos.

I think it’s still debatable if tattoo is just a body art or a cultural sacred design.

Jaydee Cide or sand stupas.

Lee has grown so much this year.

Looking back to the time when she was 6 year old, these two photos below were taken in 2008.

Lee paid homage to the birthday Buddha status or the Day Buddha status.

Time has changed, but this temple remains the same sacred ground for us.

Instead of splashing water, shaving cream is still popular in this part of the country.

Khmer classical dance

I’ve posted more photos at Wat Greensboro’s Facebook page, please click here to see more Songkran Day Festival 2014 photos.