Category Archives: History
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Loi Krathong is the Festival of Light and one of the typical events celebrated throughout Thailand and certain areas of neighbouring countries, who share the same culture. Loi Krathong takes place in the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month in the traditional Thai calendar. In the western calendar it usually falls in November and is the most picturesque and beautiful of all Thai celebrations. This year’s celebrations will be on 17th November.
The name of the festival derives from the Thai language, where “loi” means ‘to float’ and “krathong” refers to a small raft. The krathong was originally made of slices cut of the trunk of a banana tree and decorated with elaborately folded banana leaves to give it the shape of a lotusflower. A krathong contains flowers, incense sticks, candles and coins. Some years back Thai people started to use styrofoam for making floats but realised soon that they are polluting lakes and rivers and it may take years until the foam disappears. By now it is no longer allowed to use styrofoam and the Thais returned to the old style of manufacturing.
Khao Lak , Thailand 24.09.13 This festival celebrates the Chinese community’s belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
The Vegetarian Festival in Khao Lak is a smaller version of the traditional and more established Festival taking place in Takua Pa Old Town, just 30km north of Khao Lak where visitors will witness rituals and dancing unlike any they have seen before.
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In earlier times, the area between Ranong and Surat Thani in the north and between Krabi and Nakhon Sri Thammarat in the South was a centre of trade between China and the Middle East. Numerous findings from the 4th – 9thcentury show the strong Indian influence on the South of Thailand, as here, the trade routes over the Malay Peninsula led to China. One of the most important trade routes of Indian and later Arab traders led from Takua Pa to the east coast.
The town of Takua Pa, located just 30 kilometres north from the centre of Khao Lak, was originally called Takola and belonged as city-state to the Srivijaya Empire, which extended from Java and Sumatra to the Malay Peninsula during the 5th – 12th century. After lead-rich deposits were found nearby, the name was changed to Takua Pa. ’Takua’ is the Thai word for lead, although the tin deposits were actually more important.
For a long period the town was administered by the Kingdom of Nakhon Sri Thammarat until it came to Phuket in 1892, which at that time enjoyed a certain degree of independence from Bangkok, justified by the prosperity from the island’s rich tin deposits and the geographic proximity to Penang and Malacca. In 1931 Takua Pa was incorporated in the province of Phang Nga.
“Pass by the house and get a piece of turtle cake” As soon as I heard that, I knew right away dad was selected to be a VP of the Southern Chinese Temple once again. Turtle cake is Chinese snack made out of corn flour and green beans in a shape of turtle. To Chinese, turtles represent longevity so it is appropriate that the cake is made into a big weird-looking reddish turtle. Red also represents prosperity. It is usually offered as a gift to the President and other two VPs for the upcoming Vegetarian Festival. The Gods and the committee would come to their houses after midnight of the 8th day to deliver the sacred cake. I’m not fond of the taste, but I had a bite, hoping for some good luck for my business. Each year, dad is very thrilled and always hopes to be a big part of the temple especially during the Vegetarian Festival time.