The Loy Catong festival in Thailand was Sunday just passed. The Catong is a small decorative “boat”, that’s set adrift on a body of water such as the sea. The Catong is adorned with flowers, incense and a candle.
Sometimes they are made out of bread, but ours had a base made out of some kind of very “floaty” wood, cut into a chopping board around 2 inches thick. I guess the whole thing about the size of a 15-18 inch pizza.
To buy one cost 150 Thai Baht, £3 UK or maybe $4.50, I think the smaller ones would have been cheaper.
Then you take it down to the water. Next time I’d bring my own tea light candle, as there was a breeze across the sea and the tall candles provided, basically just blow out. Anyhow, light the incense, light the candle.
Before setting the Catong adrift, one holds it and says a little prayer, for happiness and “luck” in life. Friends and partners can do this together.
Obviously we waded a little out past the tiny waves that were coming in. The Catong needed a little “splashing” to encourage it to go out to sea.
Our caught fire ! What I mean is the fake “flower petals” caught alight. It was only for a few seconds but added an exciting twist. Eventually died down and candle took over for a while
The tide was way way out, so must have been incoming tide. Which meant that not many of the Catongs made it out to sea. With that and the candles going out, it’s perhaps not what people would expect – “A sea full of little lights”. The Thais didn’t seem to care, there were fireworks, sky lanterns, dancing and drinks.
I think the point is that you’re supposed to let go of the Catong, and if it comes back or doesn’t float away, or the candle goes out, it doesn’t really matter.
Photos (c) Don Charisma, taken Thailand, Nov-2013