Every year in November Thai’s celebrate Loy Krathong, a tradition of bringing joy and luck and ridding yourself of all negativity. Here in Bung Kan we went to the Mekong River to float our krathongs. We used the trunk of a banana tree as the base and decorated our krathongs with various leaves and flowers. As you prepare to float your krathong you put in some fingernail clippings and/or hair (sending away the old and decaying) as well as a few coins and you make a wish and prayer as you release your krathong into the water and send it on it’s way.
Emma and I got the chance to create our own krathongs, and while mine looked like a kindergartener stapled a bunch of leaves onto a stump (until I cheated and stole someone elses pretty braided looking leaves) I had a lot of fun! We spent the day making krathongs and selling them and went to the river that evening to send them off. Great way to spend a Sunday!
There is a song for the Loy Krathong Festival and way back at English Camp I told teacher Udom I wanted to learn it. He gladly taught both myself and David and told me to memorize it. Last Thursday he informed David and I that we would be singing this song, in Thai language, for the 3,500+ students, teachers, and administrators at morning assembly on Friday.I had a one day warning that I had to belt out a Thai song in front of all these native speakers! David and I grabbed some students who love to sing and bribed them with extra credit to go on stage with us. It totally worked.
I would like to take a moment and thank Maia for making me sing karaoke so much at the Irishman- because I used to be terribly shy. After all those nights of belting out Hotel California, Livin on a Prayer, and Vanilla Ice during my Irishman hours I am now at least fairly comfortable sounding like a dying cat over the microphone for all to hear!
Much to our delight Ajarn Jiraporn sprung it on the rest of the foreign teachers the morning of that they had to go up and sing it with us. Hah, suckas. Since they didn’t know the song at all they had to try to keep up and do some background dancing. My genius plan to step back a bit and let the voices of our student helpers drown me out failed miserably when the boy holding the microphone kept holding it closer and closer to me (I think he sensed my master plan and wanted to thwart it).
I have discovered something previously unnoticed about myself that day. When I get nervous I apparently try to raise my voice a whole octave, and quite frankly my vocal chords are not down with that. I think it was a bit of a disaster, and it was all caught on film by one of our dear administrators. I have no idea where that video is or will end up, and I don’t think want to know…I’m not to keen to hear the playback on that one. That’s the last time I let Mr. Udom teach me a song, I’m making him sing American Christmas carols next month.
Here is the song in both English and Thai! (Well, Thai written out in a way you can understand it…)
Loy Krathong (Thai)
wan pen deuan sìp sŏng
náam gôr nong dtem dtà-lìng
rao táng lăai chaai yĭng sà-nùk gan jing wan loy krà-tong
loy loy loy krà-tong, loy loy loy krà-tong
loy krà-tong gan láew kŏr chern nóng gâew òk maa ram wong
ram wong wan loy krà-tong, ram wong wan loy krà-tong
bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai, bun jà sòng hâi rao sùk jai
Loy Krathong (English)
November full moon shines
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong
And the water’s high in local river and the klong
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong
Loy gratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer
We’re together at the klong Each one with his krathong As we push away we pray We can see a better day.
Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loi Krathong, Loi Krathong Loy gratong is here and everybody’s full of cheer