symphonyrain0812

United Arab Emirates

A bookworm at heart with a love for writing, reading, dogs, travel and friends. Music is my escape and writing is my magic. Marvel addict, guitar enthusiast and all round dog-lover.

Message to Readers

A late night scribble! Please please please leave some constructive feedback! PS: shoutout to buddingauthor for a great prompt.

An uncomfortable outfit, candlelight and unity #festivities

October 6, 2019

FREE WRITING

5
The air is smoky with the thick, hanging scent of incense sticks and lemongrass by the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. I stand there with my chipped nails digging into my sides, legs awkwardly jigging up and down in my too-tight Thai sarong; curly hair being whipped into my eyes. I cant help but feel on the outside of this beautiful culture with my tongue that wields a foreign sword and mannerisms that belong more to a malfunctioning robot than an about-to-be teenager. I glance down the river of twinkling lights and towering pagodas plated in gold-leaf then back at my Thai friends; enthusiastically bending down (somehow) in their intricately folded skirts to the riverbank to release their beautiful boats into the ripples.

It's Loy Krathong: the Thai festival of light that celebrates the river goddess and thanks her for the year gone by.

I had sat attentively in my Thai culture class in school, fascinated by the traditions of freeing fish into the river, visiting monks and releasing butter-paper lanterns that are laced in gold into the evening sky. But tonight as I stood amongst hundreds of Thai families, gathered together to release their hand-made krathongs, I was more fascinated by the tangible emotions hanging in the somewhat smoggy air than the actual activities of the festival. As people gently cupped their burning candles and sprinkled flower petals into their coconut-base krathongs, I watched their faces lit by the flickering candles beam and wrinkle into a smile as their toddler waddles towards the river and delicately sends their krathong on its journey. I observe the way a daughter carefully clasps the shaking, frail hand of her grandmother as she bends over to meet the surface of the rippling river. Fathers and sons and best friends and colleagues, they all look to each other with gratitude as the sparkling lights of the candles gently dip over and under the undulating surface of the water. No boats slice its serene surface as this gathering of people collectively wish, hope, pray for well being, love and joy. Whilst I was still feeling itchy in the "silk imitation" fabric of my street-brought sarong, there was somehow a sense of unity as we all basked in the glory of the twinkling candles.

Loy Krathong is normally viewed as a festival of lights: the perfect opportunity for a stunning picture, a time to decorate you own boat and set it free, a time to miss some lessons in school for an assembly about the local culture, a time to celebrate traditions of the past.

But this festival is so much more. A festival is a time of togetherness regardless of faith: where families join together, where friends reminisce memories and where partners dream of bright futures. Christmas is not exciting only because of the pile of presents under the tree, but the moments spent together deliberately putting up ornaments and smiling at the angel at the top. Diwali is not only about firecrackers and the gentle buzz of sparklers getting dangerously close to twirling lehengas but rather the time spent with family eating sweets and playing a round of cards. Loy Krathong is not only a time to watch lanterns rising in the sky and traditional dance performances but rather a time to stand together to appreciate all we have.

A festival is the sentiment of togetherness in the present, nostalgia about a generous past and the hope of future joy.
Glossary:
krathong: banana trunk decorated with incense sticks, flowers, candles and banana leaves that is released into a body of water to float at the surface to honour the river goddess
lehenga: traditional indian skirt
sarong: traditional thai outfit


For buddingauthor's competition!

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  • October 6, 2019 - 11:33am (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • Charisse Marison

    Great job! I love learning about different festivities :)


    about 2 years ago
  • Samina

    https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/132413/version/254387
    Here are the answers to your questions.


    about 2 years ago
  • buddingauthor

    I agree with @ajamwal but otherwise, amazing work! This is really visual and I appreciate your summary at the end where you blend many cultures and festivals together and find the value within them. Thank you so much for participating!


    about 2 years ago
  • ajamwal

    Here is some constructive feedback, you should try to transition from the memoir-like paragraph (first) to the part where you talk about you Thai culture class smoother, otherwise, the nostalgia is great.


    about 2 years ago