Ephemerally Up, Up and Away
The first time I saw these fragile paper lanterns floating romantically up into the Thai sky, I was blown away by their ephemeral beauty.
Traditionally made of oiled rice or other lightweight paper, and stretched around a bamboo or metal frame, khom loy lanterns drift gently upwards when the candle located at its base is lit, and the air inside the lantern heats up.
At our wedding on the beaches of Koh Samui, Thailand, we watched as our friends and family sent a collection of glowing wishes, high up into the night sky.
During the Thai festivals of Loi Krathong and Yi Peng, thousands upon thousands of khom loy lanterns are launched into the air, creating a truly riveting sight.
Unfortunately though, it’s not all just mesmerizing lights. Lanterns can be a hazard to aircraft, start fires, and cause damage to buildings. In fact, last year, in Bangkok, it was illegal to release floating lanterns during the Loi Krathong/Yi Peng period, with punishment for offenders as harsh as execution or a life sentence!
Have you seen khom loy lanterns in Thailand? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you.