Loi Krathong, or Loy Kratong, is a Thai festival of light and water. During the last full moon of the Thai lunar year, celebrants flock to bodies of water, even swimming pools, to set  adrift a krathong, symbolically setting adrift their own flaws and while showing gratitude and respect for nature. A krathong is traditionally a lotus flower on which the celebrants place candles, incense sticks, coins or other items. Many people use rafts made of banana leaves artfully folded into a lotus shape. Many people take pride in their loi krathong style, including my cousins.

LIGHT THIS CANDLE -- Cousin Dang has her krathong ready to go -- a small pink lotus flower with a birthday candle in the middle.

Loi Krathong is a joyful time. Ironically, some of the celebrations were cancelled this year in Bangkok due to flooding.

Cousins Dang and Nat were in Chiang Mai to mark a birthday and Loi Krathong. Dang was making good use of her new Olympus camera.

ELEPHANTINE -- Floats and lighted displays are part of the Loi Krathong festival in Chiang Mai.
FLOATING BY -- An elaborate float that's part of the Loi Krathong celebration in Chiang Mai.
FULL MOON -- The full moon competes with a lighted ferris wheel and fireworks during the Loi Krathong celebration in Chiang Mai.
TRADITION -- A woman in traditional clothing readies her krathong for the water.
IN TUNE -- This trio of university string players performs to raise money for flood victims.
FLOATING ON AIR -- Cousin Nat enjoys the festivities with Mickey, Minnie and other inflatable cartoon favorites in the background.

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