Lao Tradition, Laos, Memory Lane, Thai Tradition, Thailand

Lai Heur Fai Nam and Loy Krathong Festival

This post might be late for Lai Heur Fai Nam, but early for Loy Krathong Festival.

I left Laos when I was only 6 year old and I can’t recall if I ever get a chance to Lai Heur Fai Nam but I think I would have since we lived near the Mekong river in Mueng Kao near Pakse.  I recalled walking down the the dirt road to the Mekong river in the evening, but of course my childhood memory in Laos is fuzzy and fading.  I grew up in Thailand and my memory living there is not much better when it comes to recalling certain event.  It’s almost like a dream to me now and the Loy krathong event was a big thing for us back then.  I recalled that we had to make our own krathong (a small raft), including gathering the materials and flowers for the decoration.

Laos recently celebrated Lai Heur Fai Nam, this event takes place right after the End of Buddhist Lent (the three-month rains retreat or Ok Punsa), and during Thot Kathin ceremony.  The event was so closed together with Loy Krathong that I wasn’t aware that they were two different events until several years back when I was blogging about Loy Krathong Festival.  Below are photos from Lao Rock Photo of Lai Heur Fai Nam in Vientiane, Laos. I really appreciate him letting me use his photos because the chance of me witnessing this in the U.S. is very slim and he has captured the event so well.

Going into the water is not a part of the tradition of Lai Heur Fai Nam or Loy Krathong by the way, but I see his krathong needed a little help.

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.

Fireworks and release of Sky lantern, also known as Khom Loy or Khom Fai is a tradition that is practiced by both the Thais and Lao people. It is considered good luck to release a sky lantern and many believe that they are symbolic of problems and worries floating away.

Loy Krathong Festival is going to be during the next full moon, which is November 21, 2010.

Blogger, Hobby, Laos, Lifestyles, Thailand, Travel

Time Behind the Monitor

The fact is we all have 24 hours in a day, have you ever take notice of what you spend your time on the most?  As for me I’ve been blogging for almost 4 years now, if I were to spend my time studying I would most likely earn my Master or PhD by now.  I blog mostly about myself and family, but yet you don’t know anything about my profession or what I do for a living and that’s the kind of things that we share online. Kind of unfair some of you might think, but if you look at the situation square in the eyes, the same goes for most of you.  How much of your life do you share with your online friends. I think we all set our boundaries, the invisible walls that most of us put up. But since I’m an analyst I could analyze most situations well, I know a lot more than most think.

Back to the 24 hours per day, and social culture wise, I realize that I’m falling farther and farther behind, kind of funny when my GI Joe sister whom didn’t know anything about the computer cookies not too long ago was trying to teach me how to text because it’s the in thing now.  And shocking for some to know that I don’t have a Facebook (FB) or twitter because it’s the cool thing now. I often wonder how people have time to do all these things, kind of not surprise to see that some people actually check their FB or twitt on the company’s time.  Even a grandma in her late 60s is checking on her FB to see what her friends and families are up to these days and here I thought that FB was for young college students only.

As for some, traveling is the thing that they like to do, and my uncle in France loves to travel.  It’s my job to update his photoblog for him which I’m more than happy to do so since I get to see all the cool pictures and places that he visits, although I really wish that I was there. I have to say that being able to share photos online is one of the best things that the Internet has to offer. I love looking at photos, and here are some that he took on his recent trip to Laos and Thailand.

This is the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang, which is a province in northern Laos. This small town was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, mostly by the Americans.  So for much of its history, Xieng Khouang was known as a battleground, might be that it’s located between Vientiane, the capital city of Laos and Vietnam. This small town is growing rapidly, the tall building on the left hand side is Xieng Khouang Hotel.

Many guest houses, the ones on top of the mountain must have the most beautiful view.

The market in town.

My uncle knows how to make the most out of his trip.  He has several friends in Thailand and visits them on his way back.

That’s the life.  Have you figure out yet of what you spend your time on the most?

Thailand, Travel

A gift from Siam

My friend Audrey received a vintage Siam Fork and Spoon set from her late aunt as part of her inheritance.  She was going through her things and came across it again and the name Siam sounds familiar from the movie The King and I, and had to look it up.  Then she realized that Siam is known today as Thailand.  She immediately thought of me, my mom was born in Thailand and at that time it was still known as Siam.

Audrey decided to pass this vintage Siam fork and spoon set to me since it would have more sentimental value to me than any of her children or grandchildren.  She thought that her aunt got it from the 1964 New York World’s Fair. I was so happy to have received this gift, thank you so much!

Siam or what is known today as Thailand is rich in culture.  Our family lived there for 4 years and I had some schooling there and that’s how I knew how to read and speak Thai. For nearly 1,000 years, the westerners have called the country Siam and the capital city was once Ayutthaya.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram, late afternoon photographs by G2nfreeb

In 1949 Siam became Thailand and the capital city is Bangkok.

View of the Business district skyline in Bangkok photographs by Akrapon
All Seasons Place, Bangkok photographs by Sam Ruaat

When I think of Siam, I think of the ancient traditions and tropical abundance.  The country is reigned by King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his reigning with compassion and kindness to his people.  He was born in Cambridge Massachusetts and is the world’s only American-born monarch.  He ascended the throne of Siam in 1946 at 18 years of age, his dedication to his duties and his people is extraordinary and in return he is loved and respected by all Thai citizens. Below is a picture of the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace of Thailand photographs by Tevaprapas Makklay

Thailand is the largest rice exporter in the world

Rice fields near Chiang Mai, Thailand photographs by echiner1

Source including photos.