THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF LOI KRATHONG BY THE GOVERNOR OF TAT (TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND) AT ASIATIQUE WAS A GRAND AFFAIR WORTHY OF BUDDHA AND THE RIVER GODDESS IN WHOSE HONOUR THE FESTIVAL IS HELD.
King Ramkhamheng the Great from Sukothai period (1238-1438) whose wife Queen Nophammat created the first krathong or lotus shaped vessel filled with flowers, candle and joss stick to float down the river to symbolically remove the sins and mistakes accumulated during the year. King Ramkhamheng was the greatest and most famous Sukothai King. He was the second son of founder King Si Indradit who founded the Sukothai kingdom and called themselves 'Thai' which means 'free' to distinguish themselves from other Tai tribes who were still under the control of Cambodia
Actor wearing the royal regalia of King Ramkhamheng of the Sukothai era (1238-1438) which saw 200 years of the first Golden Age of Thailand until it merged with Ayuthyya kingdom
King Ramkhamheng and Queen Nopammat who created the first krathong like the one held here back in the 13th century
Royal couple; King Ramkhamheng the Great and Queen Nopammat who made the first krathong as seen here
Royal ladies in waiting
Retinue of maidens
The Naga King has arrived!
Kee Hua Chee and Naga King
The arrival of Brahma the 4-Face God
Guards safeguarding the golden statue
They will all be parading on stage later during the launch
A typical krathong that sells for around RM 3
BELOW ARE IMAGES OF THE LAUNCH OF LOI KRATHONG FESTIVAL ON 24 NOVEMBER AT ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT IN BANGKOK SPONSORED BY TAT (TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND)
Dancers using long white cloth to mimic the waves in prepartation for the arrival of the Naga King which controls the waters which were threatening Gautama Siddartha who was meditating and on the verge of enlightenment
The spectacular arrival of the Naga King on stage erected next to the Chao Phraya river
The Naga King ascends the steps to the stage
Loi Krathong Festival 2012 was sponsored by TAT
The Naga King pays homage to Buddha the Enlightened One who gave up the most exalted post on earth to become a wandering beggar and thus save mankind! When he was born, a soothsayer predicted he would either be the greatest, strongest and richest king ruling the mightiest empire in history or be a mendicant! His parents naturally wanted him to be King and so tried to shield him from Old Age, Sickness, Sorrow and Death because if he saw these, his natural empathy would take him towards salvation. Here Buddha is cleverly seen as a silhouette similar to our wayang kulit! The Naga King would later go behind Gautama Siddartha who was a mortal and raised his hood and shelter him from a violent storm raised by Mara the Evil Incarnate
The arrival of Queen Nopammat with the world's first krathong
The arrival of King Ramkhamheng the Great (1277-1317) who created and adopted the Thai alphabet in 1283 and brought in Chinese artisans to develop the ceramics industry that continues to this day!
Queen Nopammat shows King Ramkhamheng the first krathong she created from banana leaves and flowers
King Ramkhamheng accepts her offering and bows to Buddha in reverence
King Ramkhamheng orders the krathongs to be floated on the Yom and Nan rivers
A dance is held to celebrate the occasion
The first Loi Krathong dance is held!
King Ramkhamheng looks at a krathong
A maiden offers King Ramkhamheng a krathong
Queen Nopammat likes it too
The arrival of the 4-Face Brahma golden statue
The statue is carried onto the stage
Brahma being taken onstage
The golden statue of Brahma
The statue is carried off stage
Dancers mimicking a lotus bud!
Dancers posing as lotuses!
King Ramkhamheng the Great with Queen Nopammat
King Ramkhamheng and Queen Nopammat
The Board of Directors of TAT and sponsors from Asiatique
Giving a token of appreciation
The golden statue of Brahma is carried on stage again
The krathong shaped like crystal chandelier is hoisted up
Up it goes to the top to reach the beak of the golden phoenix
The krathong is now lifted symbolically up into the air rather than water so everyone could see
Congratulations all round
The golden Brahma is paraded before the VIPs
The VIPs who launched Loi Krathong Festival 2012
Though it rained heavily at 7pm, due to my prayers to Buddha and Mea Khongka, the rain stopped in time for the ceremony to begin! What a blessing!
Group photo; the event was a huge success as the rain stopped due to my prayers to Buddha and Mea Khongka the Goddess of Water! Luckily I attended or else it would have been a wash-out! Buddha always grant my wishes
And then came the illuminated boats that started their journey on the Menam Chao Phraya in front of us!
This was the first illuminated boat followed by a dozen more, each seemingly more fabulous than its predecessor!
Then came the fabulous fireworks that lit up the Bangkok skyline and impressed everyone till they almost fell into the Chao Phraya river!
Portrait of the Most Beloved Monarch in the world
Now this is what I call a huge lotus shaped krathong!
Kee Hua Chee and Apple aka Sudaporn Worapon