Post-mourning Thailand celebrates floating basket, lantern festivals

Thailand on Friday celebrated the Loy Krathong Festival, an annual tradition of paying tribute to the water goddess in the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.
This year’s celebrations were a sign that normal life has resumed in Thailand, after the country on Sunday ended a year of mourning for its late king Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last October.
Since Monday, people have been seen wearing a mix of colours, having worn primarily black clothing during the year of mourning.
Each year, Thais across the country float lotus-shaped “Krathong,”baskets made of banana leaves or bread, in rivers on the night of a full moon in the 12th month of the Thai lunar year.
The vibrant celebrations typically feature traditional Thai music,beauty pageants and fireworks.
However, despite the return to normality, the government has banned fireworks and firecrackers at this year’s festival, saying that such loud celebrations would come too soon, as the late king was cremated just a week ago.
Violators face up to three years in prison and a 60,000-baht(1,810-dollar) fine if they violate the ban, said government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd.
In the northern city of Chiang Mai, the Loy Krathong celebration swill be even more impressive, as the festival coincides with another annual festival, Yi Peng, where lanterns are flown into the sky.
A total of 78 flights scheduled for Friday and Saturday, 20 of them international, were cancelled in and out of Chiang Mai International Airport for safety reasons.
Bhumibol was the world’s longest-reigning monarch when he died last year aged 88, after seven decades on the throne. — dpa