Rick just sent sent a family update .. We worked together in Colorado. Rick now lives in Chiang Mai with his wife and daughter. We managed a few meetings in China over the years.
"It was nice to see the pics of Longmont you posted on your blog... Don't miss the cold but sure miss the blue skies. It's been raining almost every other day here recently although I am hoping that the rainy season is almost over.... That is good because here coming up in November is the Loy Krathong holiday.... very festive and attracts a lot of tourists. (Attached a few pics of last year)"
Loy Krathong literally means to "float a raft"
Loy Krathong is a delightful, gentle and pretty festival where families, friends and lovers come together to wash away the sins and bad luck of the past year and to wish for good fortune in the coming year.
Krathongs are floats made of natural materials, containing a candle, incense sticks, a coin or two and beautifully decorated with flowers are launched into the sea, or any convenient stretch of water, as a thanksgiving to the water spirits and a cleansing of sins. Thailand is often called the "land of smiles" and rightly so because you will see more smiles per mile than anywhere else in the world.
New Year: In Thailand there are three New Year's days.
The Western, on Jan 1st, the Chinese New Year on the first day of the first lunar month, usually in February and the Thai New Year marked by the Songkhran festival in April.
Chinese New Year: 1st day of the first Chinese Lunar month, usually in February. Businesses close for 3-4 days giving families time to get together and worship at one of the Chinese Buddhist temples. There may also be public celebrations with acrobats, Lion Dance and firecrackers. The latter are believed to frighten away "foreign devils".
Songkran: This is the celebration of the traditional Thai New Year. Buddhists visit the temple for the ceremony of Rod Nam Dam Nua. They sprinkle water on the Buddha images and on the hands of the monks as a sing of respect and as an offering to express confidence that the supply of water will be adequate to cover the dry season. T
his holiday has now become secularised with exuberant merrymakers taking to the streets throwing water at each other by the cup, bucket and bottle or even with a hose. To add to the fun, talc is mixed with the water and may be daubed on your face. Take it all in good part, as no one is exempt. The cool water may even be a welcome relief as the festival coincides with the time when the sun is due overhead and the weather can be very hot.