October 11, 2015
The difference between the Mae Jo, Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Lantern festivals in Chiang Mai; There is always a level of confusion over the three festivals, that run roughly on the same day, with two centred in or around Chiang Mai, I have noticed recently a lot of negative social media coverage, so I thought it might be worth shining some light on the issue.
I would like to start by clarifying the dates of the events and then provide further details on the celebrations at Mae Jo
Dates for 2015
- Loy Krathong is celebrated on 25thNovember 2015
- Chiang Mai Yi Peng Festival: Over 3 days November 24th – 26th 2015 With Yi Peng day on the 25th November 2015
- Sky lantern release at Mae Jo (free event 2015): No longer exists
- Sky lantern release at Mae Jo (ticketed event): Saturday 25thNovember 2015.
Mae Jo Event
The Mae Jo mass lantern release, is a privately run concern by the non for profit organization that is DSF. I will continue to refer to the celebration as the Mae Jo in the hope that it makes my thread easier to follow. (In fact Mae Jo is the name is the university where the event is held)
This is where the confusion lies, in the past the organisers of the Mae Jo event have used Yi Peng in their advertising, or Yeepeng, Lanna Kathina celebration. Yeepeng is the local word for the same event while Lanna was a kingdom centred in present-day northern Thailand (from the 13th to 18th centuries) and Kathina refers to the act of giving new robes and offerings to the monkhood as part of the annual thod Kathin or kathina ceremony.
Who are the DSF?
The sky lantern release at Mae Jo is arranged by a private Buddhist group, Duangtawan Santiparp Foundation in association with Tudongkasatan Lanna (Lanna Meditation Sanctuary). DSF are a Buddhist sect who specialize in large-scale events that are particularly photogenic and targeted to attract media coverage.
It is this huge coverage and their spectacular pictures that has lead so many people to associate this event with the festivals of Yi Peng and Loy Krathong.
The Mae Jo 2015 Event
This year’s ‘Pay to Watch’ programme, I am informed is sold out, further-more the organisers are not as they have in the past provided a free event where you could witness during the day the ‘khatin’ (or ‘khatina’) robes ceremony and later in the evening add your lantern to the thousands that were released into the nights sky. While this free day was always jammed packed and at times a pain to get into and out of, witnessing so many lanterns take flight was really quite spectacular. (Details on last year’s events can be found here)
And so you have it ‘The mass lantern release at Mae Jo is not part of the Yi Peng Festival’ or the Festival of Loy Krathong. Hopefully that has sorted that matter once and for all!
For further information on the three events see my posts: